If you need to make some extra cash, selling or donating your plasma can be an easy way to earn money.
Now we realize plasma donation may seem like an odd side hustle; however, what's cooler than getting paid to help save lives?
While regular blood donations such as red blood donations do not pay, plasma donors can make up to $300 to $400 per month. Read on for more information about the process and to decide if this unique side-gig is right for you.
How Much Is Plasma Worth?
Let’s start with what you want to know: how much can someone make donating plasma?
In short, the money you can make is contingent on how often you donate, the company that you give through, and if they have any special promotions. Most donations will pay anywhere between $20- 50 per donation.
It is important to note that most plasma centers will give donors a prepaid card to contribute money after each donation. If you earn a bonus with one of the promotions, that money will go on to the card as well. Donors can use their cards just like a debit or credit card, and the cards work for online purchases or cash withdrawals at ATMs.
Users do not have to wait for a minimum amount to be added to the cards before using them. If the cards have funds available, donors can use that money.
How Often Can You Donate Plasma?
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allows two donations within seven days, with at least 48 hours between donations. However, according to the American Red Cross, the best practice is to donate plasma every 28 days, up to 13 times per year.
How Much Do You Get for Donating Plasma?
Most donation centers pay 20 to 50 dollars per donation. Individuals that donate twice every seven days can make between $160 and $400 a month.
Where Can I Donate Plasma?
Several companies nationwide take plasma donations. If you live in a large city, there is a good chance that there are several donation centers near you. As you search for the location you would like to visit; you may want to look at their websites or call ahead to see if they offer bonuses or promotions for new donors.
You should also note that some companies do not have the same prices or promotions at every location. Therefore, if you have a friend in Los Angeles making $50 per donation, that same rate might not be available in New York.
Octapharma Plasma is one of the largest Plasma chains in the U.S. and even has locations outside of North America. They have been around since the 1980s and have 86 donation centers in 30 states.
BioLife Plasma has 81 locations in 31 states. They market heavily to students. Students make up 60% of BioLife’s donor base, and many sites are located near major universities.
The DonatingPlasma site aggregates donation centers from across the globe. Most of their United States-based locations are in the South, Midwest, and the East Coast. There are a handful of sites in the West as well.
CSL Plasma has more than 200 donation centers in 39 states. Many states have several locations. These states include California, Texas, and Illinois, so residents of these states are likely to find a donation center near them.
Grifols Plasma has over 100 locations in the United States. Depending on where you are in the country, you may be donating at one of their sister companies, Talecris Plasma Resources or Biomat USA.
What Are the Plasma Donation Requirements?
Some plasma donation requirements are the same regardless of what company you decide to use. For example, U.S. regulations state that each donor must be at least 18 years old. Here are a few more common requirements:
In every state, donor eligibility requires that you must be at least 18 years old. Most companies will cap donors at 69 years old.
What To Bring
Some companies or locations may have different requirements, so be sure to call ahead before donating. Some of the standard items that donors will need to bring for their first donation are:
- A photo ID
- Proof of a Social Security Number (Social Security card)
- Proof of current address
A typical donation lasts over an hour, so here are a few things that you may want to choose to bring:
- Tablet or laptop, but because one of your arms will be used to donate, plan to do something passive such as watching a movie
- Snack with sugar in it such as orange juice or cookies
- Wear layers if you get cold easily. Some donation centers are air-conditioned and can get chilly after sitting for over an hour.
Before donating, the company will walk you through a health testing system. Most plasma banks will test donors for STD’s and bloodborne illnesses, such as Hepatitis B or C. They will ask a series of health-related questions, so be sure to know your health history before going to the plasma bank.
Additionally, they will weigh donors, check their blood pressure, and do other basic health testing. Donors need to weigh at least 110 pounds to qualify for a donation.
How Does Plasma Donation Work?
When you first arrive at a plasma donation center, you will be asked to show proof of identification. If it is your first donation, the medical staff will take you to a private room to ask you about your medical history and understand anything that might affect your plasma's quality. This will include questions about tattoos or piercings in the last year and any medications you might have taken.
Once you have cleared your medical history, a phlebotomist will prepare you for the donation process. They will clean your arm to prepare the injection site and make sure you are comfortable before beginning the donation.
How To Prepare for Selling Plasma
There are a few things that you can do to prepare for a successful plasma donation. Here are some things you should know before you go:
What Is Blood Plasma?
Blood is made up of solid particles, red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. Blood plasma is the part of the blood outside of these particles and is made up mostly of water, enzymes, dissolved plasma proteins, antibodies, and clotting factors.
Who Needs Plasma Donations?
Bleeding Disorders: Having a bleeding disorder means that you are not able to properly clot blood.
Immunodeficiency Disorder: Individuals with an immunodeficiency disorder cannot react to traditional antibiotics and they are constantly battling dangerous, life-threatening illnesses.
Alpha-1 Antitrypsin: Also known as genetic emphysema, Alpha-1 is a hereditary condition that results in lung and liver disease in both adults and children.
Dialysis, Organ Transplants, and Rh Incompatibilities: Plasma contains hyperimmune globulins, a component vital to the treatment of patients undergoing such treatments, procedures, or with these conditions. – Arrest Your Debt
What Is the Process for Donating Plasma?
Usually, when you donate blood, it is collected in tubes lined with an anticoagulant (which is a coating to prevent the blood from clotting). Then, these tubes with your whole blood are placed into a centrifuge. A centrifuge is a machine that spins the blood; the spinning causes the components to separate. The large particles, red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets, all sink to the bottom. The rest, the plasma, floats to the top. Blood banks can then use all these components when preparing blood for patients who may need transfusions while in the hospital.
When donating plasma alone, the process is slightly different. You still get your whole blood drawn out, but here it goes directly into a machine that separates the plasma from the solid particles, a plasmapheresis process. Once the components are separated, the red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets are then returned to your body.
How Long Does It Take?
The donation process takes over an hour, sometimes up to 90 minutes. The first time you go, plan on staying for at least two hours because the paperwork will take extra time.
What Should I Do Beforehand?
Plasma donations can be taxing on the body and time-consuming. Here are a few things that you can do before you go to ensure a successful donation:
Get a full night’s sleep. You will not be permitted to sleep during your donation, so be sure that you feel fresh before donating.
Eat a well-rounded meal and stay hydrated. Ensuring that your blood sugar levels are stable and well-hydrated will ensure that you have a successful donation and continue to feel good afterward.
Prepare your documentation. You will be turned away if you do not have a photo ID, Social Security card, and other necessary documents, so be sure to check the website or call ahead to confirm what documents you need to bring.
Shop around for first-time donor specials. You might be able to increase your payout by taking advantage of a new donor special.
Is Selling Plasma Safe?
In short, yes, selling plasma is safe. However, there are some side effects that you should be aware of.
Allergic Reactions – Some people can have an allergic reaction either from donating plasma or the tools involved. A lot of people are allergic to latex, which is what most medical gloves are made from. If you have any allergies, you should inform your phlebotomist and list them on the medical questionnaire.
Lightheadedness – It is common for people to feel lightheaded during or after a plasma donation. Plasma is nutrient-dense, so losing it may result in the donor feeling ill or dizzy. If this is the case, be sure to let your phlebotomist know and not drive if you are feeling dizzy.
Dehydration – Plasma contains a lot of water. People often feel dehydrated after donating. Be sure to increase your water intake at least one day before donating, and drink plenty of water for at least one day following your donation.
By preparing for your donation, you can avoid many of the associated side effects. Be sure to take care of yourself before and during your donation.
The Bottom Line
How Much Money Can I Make Donating Plasma?
Many companies allow donors to donate plasma several times in their first month and give rewards for reaching a certain threshold.
Some companies will pay $300 for making five donations in a month, or others will provide a $10 bonus on the first four donations. Be sure to shop around to understand what the sign-up bonuses are and what is expected of you before choosing to donate.
If you are looking for other alternatives to earn cash, be sure to check out our additional ideas for how to make money.
Michael launched Wealth of Geeks to make personal finance fun. He has worked in personal finance for over 20 years, helping families reduce taxes, increase their income, and save for retirement. Michael is passionate about personal finance, side hustles, and all things geeky.