Some Thoughts on Plasma Donation

my blood spinning by Blind Grasshopper on Flickr!One of the most frequent “quick money” tips I see bandied about is plasma donation. Go to a plasma donation center, complete a questionnaire, get your pulse and blood pressure taken, and have some blood taken, and you receive a payment for $25 or so.

My wife actually did this while we were in college to earn some extra money. She donated plasma roughly once a month and used that cash to help pay the rent and eat a steady, healthy diet.

But before I give a wholehearted, “Hey, that’s a great way to make money,” I wanted to know a bit more about donating plasma.

What is plasma donation? Plasma is one of the four primary components of blood, along with red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. More specifically, plasma is the fluid in which those other materials are suspended, like particles in an Italian dressing.

Plasma donation is a process where you have an amount of blood withdrawn from you, the plasma is extracted from that blood, and the remaining materials are put back inside of you.

Is it safe? Painless? How long does it take? It’s perfectly safe as long as you keep the frequency of your donations low. The American Red Cross recommends donating once a month at a maximum, though some for-profit plasma donation centers (we’ll get to that later) allow you to donate more often. If you stick with the Red Cross recommendations, you’ll be fine.

My wife described the experience as being much like giving blood, except that it feels cold when they put the red blood cells back into you. She also said she felt a bit dehydrated each time, but after a few cups of juice (which were provided), she felt fine.

What happens to the plasma that I donate? If you give your plasma at a for-profit center and receive money for it, you lose control over what the plasma can be used for. This means that while some of it may wind up helping burn victims and the like, some of it might also be used by pharmaceutical research companies for their experiments.

If you instead choose to donate your blood, through the American Red Cross, for example, you can receive assurance that your blood will be directly used for treating medical emergencies. You lose that right if you sell your plasma.

Is it ethical? Some of my closest friends have serious objections to the practices of the pharmaceutical industry and object loudly to selling your plasma, as the pharmaceutical companies will use it to develop medical treatments and will profit from your plasma. However, if you’re personally fine with that – and most people are – then plasma donation is ethically reasonable.

Would I do it? If I were in a situation where I was hard-pressed to make ends meet, I would certainly look at plasma donation as an option for making a few extra dollars to keep food on the table for my family. If I were in college again and needed just a bit more to help me get through the semester, I’d consider selling my plasma in that situation as well.

However, if I’m merely looking at the social benefit of donating blood, then donating directly to the American Red Cross is the best option. They use all of your blood directly in treating individuals who need emergency medical care. I give my donations in this fashion simply because of personal choice – that’s where I want to see my donated blood going.

Beyond that, though, plasma donation is a safe way to put a bit of money in your pocket or a bit of food on the table.

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  1. Miss Thrifty says:

    I looked into this as a moneymaking option when we were living in America. I was most cross to find that I was ineligible to give plasma (as I didn’t have a social security number).

    In the UK, everyone gives blood for free – but as our healthcare is as free as it comes, I guess we get a good deal overall.

    However, there are lots of reasons why someone can’t give blood over here, e.g. if you have had piercings or tattoos in last six months,if you have a coldsore or if you have recently been on holiday to a malarial country.

  2. Sarah says:

    I donated plasma a few times in college and honestly wouldn’t recommend it to people unless you are truly hard-pressed for some fast cash. The last time I donated, I ended up with both arms stuck with a needle in at least two places on each arm. This is due to “technicians” who are hired to perform the needle sticking. Let’s just say they aren’t like the nurses that take your blood when you donate it. I still get goosebumps when I think about that young technician digging into my arm trying to get the needle in the vein. Ew!

  3. Mark B. says:

    I don’t understand how someone could find it unethical that a big drug company was using their plasma to help find a treatment for a disease. Who is this hurting? Sure, the drug company may make a profit, but think of the possible lives that could be saved if their research yields a breakthrough drug.

    I think the drug companies are one of the most unfairly judged industries out there. Sure, they make money, that is what any corp should be doing, but they also invest HEAVILY into new research for drugs that have saved MILLIONS of lives over the past few decades.

    All they get in return is a profit, and even if you evenly distributed that profit to the customers, it would not lower the price of drugs by much at all.

  4. This is regarding blood donation, not plasma donation.

    Depending on where you live, there may also be a local/regional blood center to donate blood at, too. If you donate to a local blood center, chances are the blood you donate will be given to someone in your local area (or state) as opposed to being sent across the country, as may be done when you donate to the Red Cross.

    Mind you, I have no problem with the Red Cross doing that and I don’t think donating to your local blood center is any better or worse than donating to the Red Cross – it just depends on your personal preference. My preference is to donate to my local blood center because the donation is used locally and I’ve had good experiences with them.

  5. Corban says:

    Drug companies are guilty only of providing a solution that is desperately needed by people. Because it’s so desperately needed, it is treated as a right. If there was no demand, there would be less leverage for them to establish a high price.

    But because there is, they can.

    Don’t like it? Then don’t be so needy. You can minimize your exposure by realizing that you’re maintaining your health. You can either do so with drugs or by eating better food, and exercising every so often. Which one’s cheaper? Which one’s easier? The choice is yours. I wouldn’t want to be at their mercy, which is why I drink a blenderful of fruits and veggies every morning. It’s not cheap, but certainly better than popping pills.

    People can be so self-victimizing sometimes.

  6. Jim says:

    I’m stumped about how this could be unethical. Selling something to drug companies who then make useful drugs that help us all doesn’t seem unethical. Do they maybe object to selling something that they feel ought to be given away for free?

    Personally I applaud anyone who gives blood or plasma either free or for a small fee. Either way you’re helping others.

    Jim

  7. Darice says:

    I did this in college and often wish that there were more near where I live now. I would take a book for class that I was supposed to read and sit there for the hour twice a week, earning a little under $50/month.

  8. Rick says:

    I’ve often considered donating plasma. But the thing that has always worried me is that, while they pay for plasma, nobody pays for blood donations. A basic cost/risk curve would indicate that there is either a serious lack of people donating plasma, or that there is some unknown risk to doing so. Why else do they have to pay for plasma when they can get blood for free?

    Anyway, that’s what concerns me, and why I haven’t taken the plunge to donate plasma yet. Maybe someone can address these concerns.

  9. Trent Hamm Trent says:

    Rick: the blood donated for free goes directly to help folks who need emergency transfusions and the like. Blood donated for pay is often used for pharmaceutical research – think of it as profit sharing.

  10. Michelle says:

    Do they take more blood out when you donate plasma vs donating blood? Is that why they put the remainder back in you? Otherwise why not just separate the plasma and discard the rest? I believe they take out 1 pint when donating blood, I am curious to know how much they take out when removing plasma, does anyone know?

  11. Eden says:

    There are plenty of ways to make money. This shouldn’t be on someone’s list of ways to earn an income. I think giving blood to save lives is a great thing, but giving it for some quick cash isn’t.

    I really don’t like how the plasma donation posters are all over campus at the University where I work. That looks like exploitation of broke students to me.

  12. John says:

    To answer a question posted in the comments – the argument for being paid for a plasma donation vs. a blood donation is the time. The idea is your not being paid for taking on extra risk, you are being paid because it takes 1.5 hours.

    My local for-profit center will take ‘donations’ from a healthy donor 2 times a week. Everywhere I read said this was safe so I’m not sure where Trent is coming up w/ once a month.

    When I started the center was paying $20 for the 1st and $40 for the second donation in a week. =$60 for 3 hours of my time. I don’t make $20 a hour at my FT job, and I could donate during open times in my week whereas it would be very difficult for me to pick up a PT job to make extra cash.

    I got annoyed quickly. First, the payment schedule changs every month. After my 1st week, the switched to $20 per visit with a $xx (I forget) bonus on donation #5 and another bonus on #7 in the month. So, if I missed a donation or two I missed the bonus and therefore my $/hour dropped significantly.

    I also echo the comment made earlier about the quality of the techs. Most of them suck. I have okay veins and regurlarly needed to be poked multiple times by multiple people. FYI, once they poke you and root around, you end up with a nasty broose that will make your mom think your a herion addict.

    My center’s policy was they would poke 1 arm, root around, give up, poke the other arm, root around and if they still coulden’t get a good line they’d boot you out. You would get paid but (here’s the kicker) if you came back with a broose, they would not allow you to donate. So, going back to their payment schedule favoring frequent donors – if you can’t donate b/c your broosed, you can’t get the extra $$.

    Another pet peeve – I was paid using a debit card. The card will asses a fee if you look at it more then once a day. Seemed like if I even thought about the card being in my wallet, I got a fee deducted the next day.

    And last.. if something goes wrong during the process and the machine cannot return your red blood cells back into your arm, it’s considered a whole-blood donation. if you get 2 of these in a 8 (?) week period, you are disallowed from further donations for 8 weeks. Again, messing up the frequent donor payment schedule.

    I gave up after 4 weeks of donations. My broosed arms heald.. I’m still working on convincing my mom I’m not a herion addict.

  13. Elizabeth says:

    Michelle: They don’t take more blood; they’re only taking plasma, which contains more water (see http://www.bloodntissue.org/blooddonation_plasma.asp for details)

    I will second Frugal Vet Tech’s recommendation to ask local hospitals if they need blood – I know several in my area that are always happy to take your blood directly (and you can choose your cause: cancer, pediatrics, etc.).

  14. !wanda says:

    @Michelle: The components of blood (the plasma, platelets, and blood cells) have different functions, and they all can be valuable for the right patient. If you donate whole blood, the blood is separated into its components so that patients can be given exactly what they need. Plasma is mostly fluid, while the other components of blood are cells or are made by cells, so you can more easily replace plasma than the other components. So, if you only donate plasma, you can recover more easily and donate again more quickly. I’m guessing that people who donate for money prefer to donate only plasma so they can do it more frequently, so for-profit donation places respond to that by only taking plasma.

  15. Negman says:

    I am very sure I am in the extreme minority of potential results, but I personally cannot give plasma. This isn’t due to any issues with my blood or plasma or the usual restricted groups. I gave plasma once and I was told that I had a seizure afterwards because of a sudden drop in blood pressure. With the deductible for my ambulance ride and ER factored in, the $20 I received cost me about a hundred dollars.

  16. Roger Johnson says:

    I used to do this many years ago. Once the techs found the “sweet spot” in my arm for the needle, it was no problem at all. I was able to go 2 times a week, $20 the first time, $15 the second. At the end of the month, I had a car payment! Not to mention all the free juice and cookies I could eat :0)

  17. gr8whyte says:

    Trent, thanks for not posting a photo of a needle in an arm for us needle-phobes out here (my stomach’s already churning as I write this). As much as I would like to donate blood, I’d only do it at gunpoint.

  18. Dreamer says:

    Clearing up a few things: Plasma is so desired because it contains a huge amount of the factors required for coagulation. It is more useful than packed red blood cells in a variety of situations.

    It is illegal to sell your own blood, but plasma is legal. This is because it can be extremely dangerous to sell your red blood cells too often, and there’s very little way to stop somebody from stopping by different blood banks weekly and dying from anemia. Plasma and Platelets regenerate very quickly. And @Michelle: Yes, they remove about 3 times as much plasma, and replace it with isotonic saline.

    For those worried about the morality, know this: The Red Cross does not give out those units for free. Hospitals purchase their units of blood from the red cross, usually for hundreds of dollars per unit. It’s a business, and a darn good one. The Red Cross is a non-profit, and the money does go to furthering good causes.

    Most units that end up going to pharmaceutical companies do so because they’ve expired, and are no longer good for human use. Most of the time, they are used to make reagents which help laboratories figure out blood types. The hospitals or donor centers sell the units, usually at a discount.

    Donating blood and blood products is very, very, vital. There is much less blood out there than is needed, and the demand grows. As somebody up there said, local donor centers are good if you want to improve your community. Those of you affiliated with the military can look at the Armed Forces Blood Donor Center (for whom I used to work). The blood they collect is given free to military hospitals, and shipped overseas for use in combat zones. It saves the hospitals a lot of money, because they don’t have to buy from the red cross.

    Plus, free cookies and juice!

  19. Back 24 years ago, I donated plasma for a semester to earn enough cash to buy my girlfriend a nice Christmas present. I eventually married her and I get to remind her that the gold cross was purchased with my blood! LOL! …I still get no sympathy…

  20. Ron says:

    Back 24 years ago, I donated plasma for a semester so I could buy my girlfriend a nice Christmas present. I eventually married her and now I get to remind her that the gold cross she wears was bought with my blood! LOL! I still get no sympathy though…

  21. consumer_q says:

    “Is it safe? Painless? How long does it take?…The American Red Cross recommends donating once a month at a maximum, though some for-profit plasma donation centers (we’ll get to that later) allow you to donate more often. If you stick with the Red Cross recommendations, you’ll be fine.”

    When you participate in a Red Cross Blood Drive you are giving whole blood, red blood cells (RBC) and all. During a plasma donation, your red blood cells are given back, and if you are a healthy individual, the serum protein captured is quickly replenished by your body.

    If you are frequent donor, you may develop temporary “tracks” or scar tissue at the needle site.

    ” it feels cold when they put the red blood cells back into you.”

    During the RBC re-infusion, you will also be given saline solution to replenish the fluids that were lost when your plasma is captured. The saline solution is stored at ambient temperature, while your body is about 30-degrees warmer, the result is the uncomfortable chill.

    “What happens to the plasma that I donate?”

    Plasma is worth a lot of $$$.

    “Is it ethical? Some of my closest friends have serious objections to the practices of the pharmaceutical industry and object loudly to selling your plasma”

    Research and drug development costs $$$. Drug development saves lives. The American Red Cross does not develop drugs, but they also sell your donated blood to make $$$. The American Red Cross also saves lives.

    “Would I do it?”

    No. The needles used for plasma donating are also a larger gauge than those used for whole blood donation. This is necessary because it is not just a blood extraction (stuff coming out), but the RBC and saline is re-infused. I do not like needles in my arm of any size. ;-)

    (former employee of a plasma donation center)

  22. consumer_q says:

    Addendum

    I forgot to mention that donating plasma takes much longer when compared to donating whole blood. Once the needle is in the arm, it will take at least 45 minutes and up to 1.5 hours. My former employer stressed that “we pay for your time, not for your plasma”.

    Most of our donors were college kids, so studying was the norm, as was the Thursday rush for weekend beer money.

  23. almost there says:

    Trent, I don’t believe the American Red Cross gives away blood for free. They are a business. Yes, blood donation to the ARC is a primary means in this country to restore levels in blood banks. When a disaster occurs the calls go out for blood. But, the ARC sells the blood to users (hospitals, clinics, etc). My wife was a nurse in a Kiaser hospital in Hawaii and they were charged over $100 for each pint of blood ftom the ARC. That was in 87, who knows what the charges are now. Bob Dole’s wife Elizabeth, left her Secretary of Transportation job to head the ARC because the salary was a cool 200 thousand a year, big at the time.

  24. Credit says:

    The Red Cross sells itself as a charity organization, but it’s really kind of a racket. They charge high rates for blood and have monopolistic contracts. There are many local and alternative blood banks that have more ethical business practices.

  25. Shevy says:

    So, are there the same kind of requirements for plasma donation as for blood donations? I know I can’t qualify for donating blood because I tend to be borderline anemic but, if they put the red blood cells back afterwards, perhaps this doesn’t apply for plasma donation. (I assume, of course, that they still exclude people who have hepatitis, AIDS/HIV and the like to safeguard the blood supply.)

  26. Tizzle says:

    It doesn’t pay enough for the amount of time it takes. It’s only about 20-25 each time you donate, and it takes 4 hours.

    I did it 3 times, I think, when I was unemployed, but it only buys a few groceries. I’m guessing panhandling is more lucrative.

  27. kazari says:

    Wow,
    Here in Australia you don’t get paid to donate blood OR plasma. You can ONLY donate at the red cross, and all you get in return is a big milkshake and some feel-good vibes.
    You can donate blood every 3 months, and if you’re a ‘good’ donator (regular appointments, no bad reactions, lots of lovely blood) they may ask you to donate plasma.
    My husband donates plasma (whole blood every three months, plasma each in-between month). I donate whole blood, but often don’t have enough for a full donation, so I don’t give plasma.

    I find the whole idea of ‘for-profit’ blood donation a little strange…

  28. Grey says:

    I tried this method in college (with my then-husband). He could donate, but I could not; apparently, my veins are too thin/weak for this. It was sort of a disappointment, but it’s apparently not an easy solution just for anybody.

  29. cv says:

    Shevy, the requirements are similar but not identical for the different blood components. I’ve donated both whole blood and platelets (which are used for cancer patients), and you can donate platelets with lower iron levels than those required for whole blood. Borderline anemic probably won’t cut it, though (the cutoff is something like hemoglobin of 12.0 for platelets, 12.4 for whole blood. I don’t know about plasma).

    I don’t know anything about the Red Cross’ business model, but collecting blood has got to be expensive, so it doesn’t surprise me they charge hospitals for it. The technicians, equipment, testing (for HIV and the like), storage, shipping, etc., probably add up to quite a bit per unit, especially if they break it down into components for specialized uses. Most of the money donated to the Red Cross is for their disaster relief and other programs, not for their blood services, so the money has to come from somewhere.

    My local blood center sometimes collects for research as well as helping patients at the local hospitals. They ask your permission and have you sign a consent form, and the blood products are used in a hospital or academic research setting, not a drug company setting. They don’t pay, but I have gotten movie tickets and t-shirts from them, plus plenty of tasty juice and cookies.

  30. Rolltimer says:

    As a college student in the early 80’s, I donated plasma for grocery money. Made about $18 a week donating twice weekly. Total time involved was about 2 hours each time including having temperature taken, being weighed, and having blood drawn via a finger prick to check iron levels and to judge the “clearness” of the plasma.

    Once approved for donation, I was seated in a recliner, “stuck” and hooked up to a bag to donate the first pint. When full the bag was tied off, cut and removed to a centrifuge machine to separate the plasma from the cells. Meanwhile, saline steadily dripped into the vein to keep it open and help with fluid replacement. The cells were returned and mixed with the saline to drip back into my arm. Then I bled another bag and the separation and return processes were repeated.

    I had to be careful to limit fat intake in the hours immediately before donating to avoid the dreaded “cloudy” plasma condition that would make my plasma ineligible for donation.

    The body fully replaces lost plasma within 48 hours. Red cell replacement can take up to 5 or 6 weeks. The plasma is separated and the cells are returned to the donor to allow for more frequent donations than when whole blood is donated.

    In recent years at different times I’ve tried donating both plasma and whole blood but have come much too close to passing out to be able to make donation a regular activity.

  31. AnnJo says:

    Considering you are doing your best to take full advantage of free minds and free markets (and more power to you), your and your friends’ animosity toward pharmaceutical companies is hard to understand.

    They’ve saved millions of lives and brought relief from pain and disability to millions of people, given jobs to millions more, and earned no greater profits for their investors than many other businesses, and probably less than they “deserve” if perfect economic justice were possible. After all, the right drug might add thirty years to someone’s life for less than their realtor will charge to sell their house or their state university will charge to give their child a mediocre education.

  32. Valerie says:

    Regarding the animosity towards drug companies, I’m guessing it stems from the thought that some companies are more interested in developing treatments than cures (repeat customers after all!) I’m not sure if it’s still the case, but I know there are a few conspiracy movies around that work on the theory that drug companies who were…slightly less than rigorous in their testing (like using other country’s citizens for things that would not be approved in the States) actually caused a few more problems.

  33. Journeyer says:

    I had never heard of paid plasma donation. I’m not sure if we have it here in Australia. If I was able though, I wouldn’t have any hesitation in doing it. I used to have a fairly negative view of pharma companies. Then I was diagnosed with leukaemia and my view became somewhat murky. The massive profits annoy me, as do the arguably unethical practices that some companies use. However, without big pharma the majority of medical research that happens nowadays would not be able to be done. They are the ones who provide most of the funding. So rather than focus on the negative aspects of paid donations, I would urge people to consider the huge benefits.

  34. This is a really interesting method to make money. But who couldn’t use an extra $25 a month?
    I don’t know if they do this in Australia

  35. consumer_q says:

    Hello

    When I worked for a plasma centre just shy of a decade ago the procedure was as follows:

    First appointment required a visit with an on-site physician or physician’s assistant for a medical history and physical. The donor was asked questions about sexual history (there was a bias against same-sex relations between males, and those who visited African nations), medications, tattoos and piercings (nothing allowed in preceding 12 months), and drug use. Vitals were taken (blood pressure, pulse, temperature, weight), veins were inspected for donation viability (but if our phlebotomists did not like them, the donor could try another plasma centre) and there was a visual inspection in the druggie hotspots of the body for needle marks.

    A urinalysis was given to check for drugs and glucose levels (diabetics need not apply), hematocrit levels were checked (percentage of RBC has to be 37%-54%, anemics need not apply, it also indicated hydration) , density of serum and cloudiness was inspected (fattiness in blood is nasty).

    The donors name and SS# was compared to a database of blacklisted donors. You were entered into this database if you had tested positive for HIV or Hepatitis.

    After the physical, the donor was seated in a reclined chair in an area open only to other donors, stuck with a needle by a phlebotomist who first took a blood draw, and then hooked you up to the machine. The blood draw was sent to a lab for a full set of test with results coming back within 48 hrs. Altogether, the first appointment, with physical and donation would take 2.5- 3 hrs depending whether you made an appointment, or were a walk-in and it was busy. A physical was required every year, or if you had taken a six month break from donating.

    Each subsequent visit the medical history screening, the vitals, the hematocrit and plasma inspection (required a finger prick and 3 drops of blood) were done by a trained employee. If you were under 110 lbs, you were ousted. If your vitals were out of range, you were ousted. The screening and vitals took between 5-15 minutes depending on how busy we were.

    Each plasma centre also “painted” a specific finger with a dye that illuminated beneath a blacklight. Some people attempted to donate more than 2x a week by going to different plasma places.If some finger other than the one we mark was glowing, we would call the centre that dyed that specific finger and ask is (s)he was a donor there. “Shopping” around plasma centres was frowned upon and multiple attempts resulted in banning.

    Within the donation area, there were tv monitors and we played movies at a moderate volume. The machine the donor was connected to extracted an amount of whole blood, separated the plasma and re-infused the RBC in cycles, all the while delivering a saline solution. There was no need to remove each pint and centrifuge it in another room like the olden days. It was a self-contained apparatus, with one use needle, containers, and tubing.

    The extracted plasma went into a -20C freezer and was shipped out at the end of each night. While the plasma is tested before use, it may sit in storage for many weeks, so every three months (if I recall correctly) a whole blood sample was drawn for a more immediate test. Processing donations is an expensive endeavour, and by testing samples periodically it helped avoid wasting resources collecting contaminated plasma. If a person tested positive for a blood disease, the donor sat with the physician and (s)he explained what was going to happen next (report to health dept, CDC, offered counseling resources, and etc).

    The amount of plasma donated was dependent on the donor’s weight. This also meant that there were two payscales; one for the lighter people (110lbs to 149 lbs), another for the heavier people (150 lbs+). Also, the more hydrated a donor was the faster the process usually took. While some people became drowsy, no sleeping is allowed for fear that the donor yanks out the needle. We monitored that rather religiously.

    Some people did have adverse effects to the donation process; bruising, built-up scar tissue, and I have witnessed some go into mild shock, as well as faint. If you feel queasy donating whole blood, plasma donation is not for you. Sometimes a donor’s vein will “roll” and the needle misses, requiring multiple sticks. Other times the veins are too deep (overweight people tend to have this problem), and other times there is just a bad phlebotomist (the person sticking the needle into your vein). A bad stick can result in an “infiltration”, which means that the needle goes through your vein, sometimes resulting in some nasty looking yellow and purple bruising (sometimes tender to the touch, but normally painless).

    I think that is everything. ;-)

  36. John Some says:

    Really? $25 extra a month to help pay rent and stay one a wholehearted diet? That’s sick…what the heck is $25 dollars going to do? I don’t care if you worked at McDonalds as a bus-boy, and made $6 dollars an hour, $25 dollars a MONTH isn’t much at all and for you to write an article about it, it a waste of internet space. It’s sad what some people will do for an buck…a penny saved it still just a penny saved, you need to focus more on how to make more money, and how to find more income flow then saving a penny or going to the red-cross for $25 DOLLARS A MONTH! It’s fine though, because people will still read this article and you’ll still be making money of feeding people useless information. I like many of your articles, but lately, its been way too..weak.

  37. almost there says:

    Here is a funny I remembered about blood donations. We would get “vampire libirty”-the afternoon off, if we donated blood when I was in the navy. One afternoon at Mare Island Naval Shipyard the navy bloodmobile (actually a bus with cots) pulls up on the pier and we were greeted by navy nurses in their white uniforms with skirts. Our chief of the boat (COB) had given the nurses bikini panties with our ships crest on the front and told them to wear them. So naturally we had a good turnout. And yes, they were wearing them and gave us a peek. Woouldn’t fly today. Ah the good old days as a submariner.

  38. Sam says:

    I did this last month. And guess what, I got a lot of flack from some people.

    There are many out there who believe that it is ethically wrong to receive money for donation of what is essentially a body part. My two roommates and I went through a lean summer a few years ago. Between the three of us, our five jobs were not enough to pay our summer bills. Having studied it in a medical ethics class, (and having a meal of two tortillas apiece–and that was all we had for the day)we made the decision that plasma donation was the best way for us to keep the lights on and food on the table until our financial aid and scholarships came in. But that was just us. You might come to a different decision. You’re the only person who can make that decision. Just be prepared to defend it when you do.

  39. Wow people seem to love doing this. Look at the response

  40. reulte says:

    Rick – #7 – I think the pay for plasma is that it takes more time for the donator. Whole blood donations takes a few minutes; plasma donations takes an hour or two. Fewer people would donate the TIME to do plasma. Even in whole blood donation, I believe expired whole blood is divided into parts; the plasma (which doesn’t expire) is then sold.

    Also — it doesn’t matter if its a technician or a nurse (or a doctor) doing the stick; some people are better, more experienced, more empathetic and some aren’t. Having been in the hospital for 3 weeks, I’ve had MDs that took an hour and still couldn’t draw blood; I was so pissed I told him to give me the tubes and I went downstairs to the lab where my favorite technician worked and handed the MD the filled tubes within 10 minutes.

    consumer_q – #27 – Wow! Thank you for the information.

  41. TParkerson says:

    Thanks Trent for the interesting post. I am not surprised that your audience seems very savvy on this (blood donation) issue. There would seem to be a direct corollary between being good personal stewards and being good community stewards. And thanks to consumer_q for the in depth explanation of the process, as it is today. It is a science but since it involves humans, there are still a ton a variables to consider.

    I am a trained phlebotomist and also a very longtime donor, of both whole blood and plasma. In our area, you can donate plasma at our local blood center using the same process described earlier. Yes, takes longer and your platelet count has to be fairly high. Cool thing though, the more you donate plasma, the higher your platelet count will generally become. I suppose you could say that there may be some healthy advantages to plasma donation, if you are able. The normal considerations / exclusions of whole blood donation also apply; so no, if you are slightly anemic, you will not be able to donate on that day.

    I would like to mention one thing that soncerns me. We also have a for profit plasma center here in town. My fellow readers need to be aware that it is not only starving college students who frequent these centers; they may be in chairs next to users and addicts that have need for “fix” money. Yes, there is a screening process that you have to go through but as a previous poster said it takes from 5 – 15 minutes…and depending on the level of experience, the management of the center, the workload, I would wager that it is almost always closer to 5 minutes. You cannot make me believe that you can know a person’s medical history, or lifestyle, in 5 minutes. This is the very heart of the donate vs payment argument…our answers to history and lifestyle questions can be affected by the “motivation”.

    I think that is why true donation is usually considered a safer alternative. Those of us who will leave work or school and climb on the bloodmobile for 30 – 40 minutes FOR FREE are generally doing it because we can. I don’t mean to sound holier than thou…but for what it is worth, you should consider your motives. If you truly want to help, and you dig free cookies, then get on the bloodmobile!

    Which brings up a good point…talk to your employer and see if you can set up a blood drive there at work. We have drives at work and I am making my salary, even when my bottom is in the chair. Most employers will agree, if it can be worked around “production” and most blood centers have either buses or mobile equipment that they can bring to your facility. Your blood center will work with you to set times, bring donor gifts and depending on the donor numbers, make an event out of it. Employers love it…makes them look good to the community. And the good news, once you have had a successful drive at your office, the center will put you on a rotating schedule to come back every 2 months or so…becomes a no-brainer for you and your fellow employees. When you see the bus you know it is time to donate again!

    Or,if you want to help and feel you should be compensated for your time and body fluids, well then go to your local plasma center. BUT…Be very careful if you decide to use one of these centers. Make sure that you view their processes first hand before you plop down in the chair. Is the center clean? Are the staff clean? Are they using one use kits? Are they using correct clean procedures for infection control; in other words, are they washing their hands before touching different patients? Are they wearing gloves? Are the staff trained and responsive to the needs of the client? Could they handle a medical emergency, if they have one? Medical emegencies can happen in both regular and plasma donation; fainting, vomiting, allergic reactions to the re-introduced solution, rare siezures, etc. Remember, you will be in the chair for an hour or longer and the staff has to be trained to take care of your needs.

    Sorry, didn’t mean for this to turn into the next novella of the year…I just dig blood donation! I consider myself blessed that I am among the healthy and willing population that gets to help save lives every day!!

    Hope you all have a great day!! Time’

  42. Tony says:

    I knew somebody who would do this whenever he could just to get out of half a day’s work.

  43. Kel says:

    Along a similar vein (haha!), what about women participating in egg donation?

  44. John says:

    not to beat a dead horse, but the idea that it is unethical to be paid because the pharmaceutical companies profit? Do these people also think that it is unethical to work for a company? I don’t know about anyone else, but I get paid for my job, and my company profits off my efforts. Does that make working unethical?

  45. Jeremy says:

    I’m inclined to donate directly to the hospitals. The Red Cross charges them upwards of 600+ per pint these days. That’s a heavy cross to bear (!) for most hospitals trying to stay in the black, and be competitive.

  46. andrew says:

    I hate needles, but (because I want to pay back my loans fast) after getting married I didn’t have room in the budget for personal hobby/spending money.
    Donating twice a week is $240 a month, so I decided to try it. I had a very good experience, and have never had to be stuck a second time. I would spend those 3 hours each week reading anyway, so I basically force myself to endure the minute of discomfort from a needle stick and figure that I get pair $30 for that minute.

  47. Susie says:

    I work for a community blood center and wanted to share a bit.

    Blood centers do charge hospitals, clinics and the like for blood. Blood centers are a business, but many are also non-profits, so any money the non-profit centers make goes back into the company for things such as equipment upgrades and employee wages.

    The center I work for offers a discount to in-region hospitals (that is, in-state hospitals and sometimes those that are not too far outside state borders). I do not know if the American Red Cross (ARC) does this.

    I can only speak for my organization, but while much of the blood does stay in the community, if there is a need somewhere else (for instance, the areas affected by Hurricane Gustav), we do supply blood to those places. The ARC blood is also shipped across the USA, although at least at my area ARC, there is not a huge emphasis on “blood taken from the community stays in the general community”.

    In summary, I think it’s great when people give blood–no matter where they go. It’s a relatively quick, painless thing to do. Giving one pint of blood (about an hour of one’s time) can save up to three lives!

    Oh, and one last difference between the ARC and community blood centers: The ARC deals with all sorts of disaster relief efforts, not just blood donation. Many community blood centers only deal in blood. Other community blood centers may branch off into research (of blood-related diseases) and/or diagnostic testing, but still have blood as their main product.

  48. Pete says:

    Ahem, is “donating” the right word if you receive 25$ in payment ?
    So when I’m _donating_ blood, I’d feel betrayed if it was used by a pharmaceutical company.
    But if I was _selling_ blood (or plasma), I could harldy object to someone using it for profit.

  49. deepali says:

    I don’t think the issue is Pharma R&D, but receiving payment for plasma/blood/organs/eggs/etc. This is not some nutcase issue – it is THE reason why many Western countries do not allow for payment of these body parts. In the US, we do not allow for payment of organs, but we do for plasma, eggs, sperm. There is a cap placed on how much an authorized center is allowed to pay you. In other countries (UK, for example), it is unethical to be paid beyond your transport costs.

    But regarding Pharma and ethics – drug companies are not in the business of trying to save lives unless it is politically expedient. It doesn’t make them bad or good per se, but if you have an issue with the way they operate, then you would have an issue giving them your plasma. There’s no need to judge people who do have those issues – many of them have seen firsthand how Pharma operates in the developing world.

  50. Carrie says:

    My husband has done this before. If you go twice a week (the max. allowed), the pay is $20 the first time and $30 the second time.

  51. Alison says:

    Wow.
    Like kazari, I am from a country that doesn’t offer to pay you for your blood or plasma. I’m not sure whether I feel this to be ethical or not, but I find myself leaning towards the not side.

    American drug companies seem corrupt to me. Thus, doing anything to support their actions seems corrupt. However, I do not have any hard evidence confirming their corruption.

    But I wonder, how many American (or transnational) drug companies make their newly developed drugs available to those who need them the most – those who cannot afford to pay for them. I’m thinking of AIDS patients in Africa, etc.

    I am Canadian, and I consider myself to be a social liberal. Tommy Douglas is my personal hero. He spent a good portion of his political life in creating and legislating the Canadian medicare system, a system that has been under attack from Free Trade agreements, which seem to institute a ‘race to the bottom’ mentality.

    It is my dream to see another politician in power who will have the gumption to turn this race around, to reinvigorate free medical care to all, regardless of ability to pay.

  52. plonkee says:

    This is considered unethical in the UK, and so is forbidden by law. deepali’s right that the ethical issues are concerned with payment for body parts.

  53. Deamiter says:

    I donated/sold plasma for a few months until I got a ‘real’ job after university. It’s not particularly comfortable, but as a guy who loves to sit and read, it was a decent way to gain $60 a week.

    Ethical? I don’t really get the objection. If there was a substantial risk or it was irreplaceable, I’d view it differently, but as a fluid that’s difficult to impossible to produce artificially (depending on how close you actually need it to be) it’s generated naturally in the body.

    The ethical concern (in my opinion) comes into play when there’s a substantial risk or even an incentive to suicide for those who donate the organs. Selling plasma enables research and is a potential source of safe money for anybody who’s interested (and meets health/weight requirements).

    If I could regenerate my kidneys, I’d sure consider selling one of those and I also wouldn’t have an ethical concern. As it is, losing a kidney is dangerous enough that selling one DOES cause ethical concerns.

  54. laura k says:

    I’m on the fence about drug companies. I’d like to see them as doing a good thing, because they provide my docs money to do much-needed research. But then I review contracts where the company tries to slip in wording that my hospital agrees not to publish negative study results (ie, the drug company’s drug did not work), and my blood just boils!

  55. Jon says:

    The Red Cross is the most profitable non-profit I’ve ever heard of. The CEO makes $500k/year, plus expenses, plus benefits, plus cash bonuses. Wow, with those kinds of salaries, I guess it’s only “non-profit” for the people who donate blood for free!

    There is a very fine and interesting line, though, that non-profits have to walk. Paying your CEO $500k can be seen as an investment because you get a better CEO which leads to more growth, better efficiency, etc. But from the outside it sure LOOKS like profit.

    I prefer for-profit companies, if only because they’re honest about their profit. The Red Cross even claims that they don’t sell blood (check out their FAQ). Oh, but they do charge for transportation, screening, and other services. Oh yeah, and you can’t buy, err I mean get-for-free, any blood without paying for those services. So yeah.

  56. jared says:

    I don’t donate blood because the Red Cross doesn’t allow gay men to donate (at least the last time i tried to, a couple years ago). They have some ridiculously outdated rule that certainly made sense 20 some years ago — But we know a lot more about HIV/AIDS now, like how HIV/AIDS is no longer a gay-man-only problem, is not significantly more prevalent than in other groups (single black females, for instance) and EVERY donation from anyone is tested for HIV/AIDS (as far as I know.) Their archaic and frankly discriminatory policy deprives them (and those who depend on them) of a lot of blood donations.

    I wonder if i’m eligible to sell plasma, i never thought about it.

  57. Brian says:

    I gave Plasma twice a week for about two months before the veins in my arms developed scar tissue. They could not get a needle into the things! I am guessing that the fewer times a month you do give, would give the healing process a chance to work. I stopped because I (Hope) some medico can still get a needle into there if I needed medical care in the future.

  58. NPG says:

    Would-be donors should consider (I wish the students would consider– I’ve heard students talking about donating plasma in order to pay rent) that they may be scarring up the same blood vessels that would be best for receiving medical treatment in the future, and likely making treatment more painful, or even impossible in some cases, and that if they need to donate plasma to make ends meet, that they are living beyond their means.

  59. !wanda says:

    @Kel: Donating eggs is a very invasive process and potentially dangerous. It’s also kind of a slow way to get cash, because the whole process takes weeks, and it sounds like the donor is likely to feel uncomfortable during the entire process even if there if no risk to her health.

    Then again, there were a number of ads running in my college newspaper 5-6 years ago that gave rates of $15k+ for pretty, athletic Asian women with a 1450+ SAT score and $10k+ for a similarly qualified white woman. Pretty, smart, intelligent women have many ways to make money, but it’s hard to make that much at once if you are enrolled full-time in a demanding degree program.

  60. Gigi says:

    I tried donating plasma 1x. Ended up becoming very weak & unable to move or even make a sound. The only reason someone realized there was a problem was because I was paper-white (usually somewhat tan). He asked me if I was ok and I could only mouth no to him…couldn’t even speak. I don’t have a problem with large needles (and they are very large), and I have very good veins…but plasma donation isn’t for me. I still donate blood though. Started donating when I was 17 because my brother was having open-heart surgery and I’m O neg.(universal donor). As the Red Cross says…the blood you donate could save a life. That’s totally worth it. I recommend donating as often as you can, but check with your doctor first if you haven’t given in the past. Thanks Trent for always giving us something to think about!

  61. Griffin says:

    I donated plasma for a few months out of need, but they wound up helping me more than just money-wise. When you go in for the first time, they test you for HIV, Hep A/B/C, clotting and Rh factor. I came in without any disease, but at a restaurant I wound up being exposed to Hep B — which my body fought off since I had been vaccinated already. They let me know that my body had fought it off successfully (since they test everything) and asked if I would like to donate plasma specifically for the creation of the
    Hepatitis B Vaccine.

    Had I not been donating plasma I never would have known that I had been exposed at all. And the plasma I donated could save someone else from it as well, so I had no issue with it. I wound up stopping because I developed a fear of needles.

    The people who take your blood are phlebotomists — all they do is take blood, but that doesn’t mean that they are as good as a nurse with years of experience. A lot of phlebotomists are nursing students as well, so I would keep that in mind.

    I would like to say something against donating for the Red Cross. I wound up on a list for an “Indefinite Ban” from giving blood for Red Cross agencies — it will actually come up if I try to donate blood. I’m AB+, so they need my blood BADLY. I’m 100% drug and disease-free, but since the Red Cross still uses their old outdated rules that means that people in need lose out.

    So what happened? My ex is transgendered, which means she’s male — and because I’m male as well, that means the Red Cross considers us “unfit” to donate blood. It makes no sense to me, but they still consider anyone GLBT to be high-risk. They tend to ignore the fact that straight people get it as well. They also ban prostitutes, but not the people who sleep with them.

    So yeah, reasonably I am a great candidate for blood donation but if I’m honest about it I can only donate with a few small centers and not the Red Cross.

  62. Lynne says:

    I guess I’m a bit disappointed in those who feel it is unethical for the big drug makers to use or profit from their own donation. Because you don’t know what their experiments may be, or where for sure your plasma may be headed, think again. My husband died of cancer at the end of last year. Like my mother, who died of ovarian cancer, he needed a number of transfusions when his blood counts fell way too far after chemo. Had someone not donated they each would have died far sooner than they did. During their survival time, much was learned about each of their cancers, which should benefit others in the future. As to the drug manufacturers–if it weren’t for them, my mother & my husband would have each have likely passed away 2 or more years sooner, because the effects of certain drugs (ie: chemo) would have been unknown. So you all need to remember that the next person who benefits from a blood or plasma donation could very well be you or a member of your family.

  63. Suzanne says:

    I donated plasma fairly regularly in college in the late 70’s. Then in Physical Therapy school, one impressive lecturer mentioned a very important micro-component of the plasma is not replaceable ever. When my daughter was in college, she wanted to donate it as well so I searched the net for more information but couldn’t find any. I was able to convince her not to donate it, since all the plasma is extracted from the blood, it doesn’t take many donations to lose most of this component. If anyone else has more info on this, I would love to hear it. This info is probably suppressed since it would affect people’s willingness to even donate blood only.

  64. Here in Finland there is no payment for donating plasma or blood, but sometimes you get swag for it.

    @Suzanne: Do you remember what the micro-component is called? I’d like to try to find more information about this.

  65. Mary says:

    For about 10 years I donated plasma to a lab owned by a large drug company in Southern California. The reason I donated plasma to this particular lab (and paid for each donation) was that my plasma donations were used primarily to make the RhoGam Serum.

    For those of you who are not aware of what the RhoGam Serum is – it is used when an RH-negative woman conceives an RH-positive baby. When it is administered during the pregnancy it prevents the mother from developing the RH disease and the baby from getting very sick and possibly dieing before being born, or being born with some complications.

    If I remember correctly this serum became available around 1967. And at that time I believe there were approximately 15% of pregnancies affected by this particular condition. But the serum was too late for me as I had become sensitized during my pregnancy in 1963 and lost 2 babies because of this RH problem in 1967 and 1968, so I feel I have a right to speak out on this subject. And with the 1967 pregnancy I also nearly lost my life – it was that serious.

    Before this serum became available, some babies were stillborn with virtually no red blood cells and through medical research it was discovered that the RH factor was the cause and through more research the RhoGam Serum was created which resulted in preventing these stillbirths.

    Now, are all these facts absolutely correct today? I don’t know, have not researched it, but what I state here is to the best of my recollection.

    I can’t tell you how it warms my heart when I talk to other women and have occasion to find out that they received the RhoGam Serum while pregnant and delivered a healthy baby or babies. That is the real pay off for me. They won’t wake up after delivery and be told that their baby did not survive.

    The plasma was not only used to make the RhoGam Serum but also to do other research for other medical conditions.

    Blood money? Not for me – life saving donations, just as whole blood donations are.

  66. Sharon says:

    Suzanne, if that was the case, people who have donated plasma for decades would be long dead or very ill. If you can’t find anything about this in the medical literature, then it is seriously bogus. The information being “suppressed” is nonsense. It would not be able to be suppressed!

  67. Lou says:

    Having worked for 8 years in the for-profit plasma industry and 3 years in the non-profit blood industry, I would like to set the record straight on a few items. I have a degree, worked my way through college in the plasma center, and have held high-level management positions in both industries, including my current position. Therefore, I feel qualified to make the following comments:
    1. Phlebotomists, who draw your blood or plasma, are generally high school graduates who receive on the job training in phlebotomy (“sticking”, if you will). This applies to community blood centers, the ARC, and plasma centers. Very seldom are these people nurses – with the exception of the state of California where phlebotomy at plasma centers and certain donations at blood centers must be performed by licensed nurses, as required by state law.
    2. The ARC collects blood in many locations and manages its inventory on a national basis. That means your donation is shipped to a blood warehouse from where it is distributed to any hospital having a contract with ARC and requesting the specific blood component that was processed from your donation. On the other hand, community based blood centers collect blood from residents of the communities in which they operate or in which they supply blood to hospitals. These centers are committed to meeting the blood needs of the local community first, but will export to other areas in times of crisis or when the community needs have been met and there is an excess inventory.
    3. All plasma centers use Universal Precautions, single use needles, disposable kits, gloves, proper hand washing techniques, etc. Plasma centers are very heavily regulated by the FDA, same as blood centers, and have a set of voluntary standards that they meet to participate in the Quality Plasma Program or QPP, which is administered by the Plasma Protein Therapeutics Association (PPTA). These standards help to ensure high quality plasma is collected and thereby ensure that the product manufactured from this plasma are high quality. While these standards are voluntary, a plasma center will be hard pressed to find a buyer if they are not QPP certified.
    4. In a plasma center, you will not be sitting next to a “junkie” looking for his next fix. You very well may be sitting next to someone who does not have a job, or works day labor and seems a little on the rough side, but rest assured, any plasma center that knowingly accepted plasma from a “junkie” would not be a plasma center very long.
    5. When you donate blood to the ARC or your local blood center, your blood is separated into components almost immediately after your donation. As a previous poster stated, the different components are used to treat different illnesses or injuries. One of the components of your whole blood donation is the plasma. The plasma from some units of blood does not meet the requirements to be labeled as Fresh Frozen Plasma and transfused directly to patients in need of plasma. If it is not destined to become FFP, the plasma from your blood donation will be labeled as recovered plasma, which is then used for the same purposes as the plasma collected by the for profit plasma center.
    6. While there is some medical research done on the plasma you “sell” as well as the recovered plasma (see above); the majority of it is manufactured into therapies that treat diseases such as immune deficiencies and hemophilia and is used to treat medical conditions such as shock, trauma and burns.
    7. The policies in plasma and blood centers in regards to homosexuals donating are identical. This is not because the companies are discriminatory; it is because the guidelines for donor suitability are established by the Food and Drug Administration.
    8. Plasma centers are equipped to handle medical emergencies, as they are required to have licensed medical professionals on staff and present in the building during the donation process. This is an FDA requirement and is generally fulfilled with people licensed as RN, LPN, LVN, EMT, or Paramedic.
    9. I have yet to see a plasma center that can complete the screening process in 5 minutes. They are thorough in obtaining medical history, and perform some basic blood tests as a qualifier (as described by a previous poster). The screening process does become a little quicker for the “regular” donors because they are accustomed to the system and do not need the physical exam required of first time donors.

    I think that’s enough for now. I’ll try to check back to see if there are any other questions I can answer.

    If you are interested in the facts instead of some of the myths that have been posted here by others, I urge you to check out the following websites:
    http://www.pptaglobal.org
    http://www.aabb.org
    http://www.americasblood.org

    And if you’re up for some not so light reading, try this one:
    http://www.fda.gov/cber/blood.htm

  68. Jo says:

    Donating blood through the Red Cross takes the red blood ceells for use. A plasma donation takes the clear fluid, which is seperated from the red blood cells. You get your red cells back, and the clear plasma is replenished by your body quickly ,and can be drawn 2 times a week. If you happen to have a problem at the time of donation and lose the red cells (power outage at the center, ect) it is considered a blood loss, and you must wait 6 weeks to donate, so your body replaces the red cells lost.Red cells and plasma are different! Due to the high volume of plasma donors,most phlebotomists have done more sticks than most nurses.

  69. MMR says:

    There is some serious confusion here! First, Blood Banks DO make money out of blood donations…just ask anyone who needed blood if their insurance was not charged for it. Granted, I am not saying that this is wrong, but don’t be fooled. Anybody who receives blood transfussion, has to pay for it. There is equipment, testing, ect that the blood bank has to pay for AND research that they do as well. Plasma companies do use all their plasma to treat patients…it is not just the burn victims but the patients with hemophilia, immunodeficiencies and other rare diseases. To make one vial of treatment, they need at least 6 or 7 people to donate!!! I had no idea…I am a patient and now that I am older I am learning about where my medications are coming from. The plasma company does not decide how often you can donate, the FDA does. The blood bank has to tell you to donate once every 2 months because you are loosing red blood cells and it would be too dangerous. In plasma donation, you do not loose the cells and can donate twice a week. Blood donation takes about 30 minutes, plasma donation takes about an hour. Who would take that much time for no money? Also the screening for a new plasma donor can take up to 3 hours…so thank you, thank you, thank you to all of you who are plasma donors and are making my life possible. For those of you who used to donate, but don’t need the money anymore, please go back and donate for the noble cause of helping people like me. One plasma donation can help a minimum of 4 or 5 patients. I believe that there is a lot to learn. If you want to help a person donate blood, if you want to help even more people donate plasma. Thank you Lou (see above) to explain about blood banks and plasma centers — they both are doing a great job to help people.

  70. MMR says:

    Oh, I forgot to mention, countries that do not pay for plasma donations do not have a lot of donors…most of the plasma use for medications around the world comes from the USA. There is a major need for plasma medications, not only in the USA but in the world. As a plasma donor you are not only helping the people of your community or your country…also the people in many other countries.
    Go to the website of the National Hemophilia Foundation (NHF) or the Immunodeficiency Foundation (IDF) so you learn who really plasma donors are saving… T-H-A-N-K Y-O-U!!!!!

  71. Lanzera says:

    Good points made here…I just wanted to add that getting folks involved with donating plasma at a young age really helps ‘train’ folks to donate blood for free when they are older…there is no substitute for human blood and so it is something that everyone must contribute.

    For more info on the process and to find a local center checkout: http://bloodbanker.com

  72. Broke says:

    Anyone know how bad your bruise can be and still give?

    I just started selling my “time” 2 weeks ago (3 donations to date) and received a bruise twice, the last one being bad, as they pump the red blood back into my arm but it did not make it into the vein.

    I don’t want to go in and get turned away because I heard that after a few deferrals you get banned for life.

    My local center has the stupid bonus program so if you miss for bruising or whatever you loose a lot of money. They claim on their website you can make up to $305/month but the math just doesn’t add up.

    I am layed off and need the extra money to make my mortgage payment so I want to maximize my earnings.

  73. Willeum says:

    Wow. I read about half of all this. Wow. I am pretty poor right now, between jobs and delaying debt payments, and was considering selling my plasma, at least to keep my bank account positive. Something about it felt morally wrong though. I read the info at the JW sites, at a site that condones the Red Cross, at this site, at some site in India, and others. For now, I think I’ll just stay poor, or find some other means of making money. Giving blood seems like a nice thing to do. I have done it before. Selling plasma seems disrespectful in some way. I am really not sure why. Stupid gut feelings! Although I’m mad at my guts, I’m certainly not going against them. In the past, doing such has proven to be detrimental. Oh well. I guess in the end the worse that could happen is bad credit.

  74. Denise says:

    The way I see it, it’s MY plasma, and I’ll do what I please with it! What harm can it do? All I see id the GOOD it can do! And where I go, you receive $35.00 for your very first visit and as long as you come back within 7 days of your first visit, you receive another $50.00. That’s $85.00 EXTRA in your pocket for that first week! Then your next visits earn you extra $5, $10, $15 or $20 extra along with the normal fees of $20 & $40 per visit. There, you could earn up to $305.00 during your first month and after that up to $255.00 per month. Hey, that’s my car payment or my groceries for a month! Tax Free! Desperate times call for desperate measures…..

  75. Denise says:

    The way I see it, it’s MY plasma, and I’ll do what I please with it! What harm can it do? All I see is the GOOD it can do! And where I go, you receive $35.00 for your very first visit and as long as you come back within 7 days of your first visit, you receive another $50.00. That’s $85.00 EXTRA in your pocket for that first week! Then your next visits earn you extra $5, $10, $15 or $20 extra along with the normal fees of $20 & $40 per visit. There, you could earn up to $305.00 during your first month and after that up to $255.00 per month. Hey, that’s my car payment or my groceries for a month! Tax Free! Desperate times call for desperate measures…..

  76. Tia says:

    I just “donated” my plasma yesterday. The comp was $40, next will be $40, then $20, then $30, then $50, then alternating between $20 to $30. As a routine donor then it would be $50/week.

    My experience was a little on the rough side to be honest. I went in the morning, and they were packed with new donors. I didn’t even get done with waiting, screening, and the physical for 5.5 hrs! The centers have been packed due to high unemployment and the holidays coming up. The funny thing is when you first sign up they are really strict about making sure you’ve recently eaten, but after 5.5 hrs even if you ate right before walking in the door you’re in trouble. I was slightly hungry walking into the donor room, but I figured I would be OK and all of the warning forms I signed were just overly dramatic. 85% of the way through donation I started seeing stars, felt neaousous and faint, had stomach cramps, and started a massive cold sweat. I’m not usually a sweater at all, but it was enough that I sweat through my jeans behind my knees. It probably only lasted 2 min or so. None of the employees were supervising the “donors”, so I was on my own. I didn’t want to call for help because I was almost completely done donating, and having been at the center for over 6 hrs I didn’t want to risk leaving empty-handed if they had to unhook me! Sounds pathetic I know, but having been laid off for the last few months I really need the money!

    All in all, if someone wants to do it I would advise calling the center and asking about their new donor procedures (some centers only accept new donors at certain times and many people drove over an hr or took long bus rides only to be sent away). If they are crowded, it could easily be hours of waiting before you even learn if you are an eligible donor. You wait an hr or 2, then they check your ID. Then you wait an hr and then they check your veins (small veins were rejected). Then you wait an hour and get a screening for your vitals, blood protein and iron levels and are possibly rejected for that. Then you wait some more and have your mini-physical. Only if you pass all that are you taken to the donation room. I would have been very cranky to have been rejected after 5 hrs of waiting, thankfully I made it through. I am going back at least one more time to see how much faster the regualr donation process is to see if the money is worth all that hassle!

    Also, EAT w/in 2-3 hrs. This may mean you need to bring something to eat during the wait. It would have made all the difference for me I am sure. I thought it was rather bizzare that they made sure I ate before coming in, and wrote that time on my chart, but then didn’t ask if I had eaten during the entire day I had been there waiting! Moral of the story, you have to look out for yourself.

    I am a little nervous about next time because my plebo was awesome, but they had 4 or more newbies being trained while I was there. Hey, everyone has to learn sometime, I just don’t want them learning on me the next time I go in! Oh, and if you are a needly phobe, you definitely don’t want to do this. The needle is huge!!! Much bigger then regular blood donation needles since they return your blood to you when you donate plasma. If you sneak a peek at the needle, make sure you do it only AFTER they put it in, otherwise you might bolt from the door…

  77. Broke says:

    I don’t understand how some from a certain political following can be against receiving money for donating their own plasma but have absolutlely no problem with “researchers” making money off fetal tissue or stem cells.

    I’m not saying I’m against stem cell research or anything but I am sick of all the hypocrisy.

  78. Karen says:

    I’ve been giving plasma at the ZLB site near my home twice a week every week for the last year. I have a simple notice written up from the physician on duty that I had to submit with my application to the RN nursing program I am hoping to get into because my arms, particularly my right arm, look like I’m a junkie because of the needle marks.

    Besides that I have no problems. My son recieves plasma treatments from Children’s Medical for a disorder he has at least once a month. I’m glad to be helping. Sure the money, 25+40 every week, pays for a bit of daycare and that makes me happy.

  79. Nickity Split says:

    Money got tight for me a few months ago so I took the advice of a few friends and decided to try plasma donation.

    Two hours later I walked out of ZLB Plasma with $40 cash. The second visit actually only took slightly more than an hour and I received $45 cash.

    After your first two visits your payments are reduced to $30 for the first visit in a 7-day period and $35 for the second visit in that period. Basically meaning in a 7-day period you will make $65 for donating something you’re not using, and in many cases, didn’t even know you had.

    I am no longer in a financial bind, I’m actually doing very well, but I continue to donate plasma twice a week and make $260 a month, every month, doing it.

    Instead of asking “why donate plasma?” ask “why not?” I make $260 extra dollars a month for sitting in a chair a couple hours a week while most of you are sitting on your couches for free.

    And to those who say that donating plasma is “wrong” in some way, get over yourself…

  80. DMB says:

    I am a middle aged woman, who is in nursing school. I didn’t qualify for any financial aid, and I didn’t want to wipe out my savings account to pay my tuition. My monthly tuition payment to my school is $300. A friend of mine, who is a phlebotomist, suggested that I give my plasma twice a week, for which I would be compensated for my time, and in the end the plasma would be used to make life saving medicines and treatments for numerous illnesses and diseases.

    I don’t look at this as selling myself for money. I truly look at this as a charitable thing to do (I am also a firm believer in whole blood donation for FREE). I sacrifice approximately four hours of my time each week (2 donations) to give my plasma. While sitting in the recliner chair giving my donation, I study or which I would be doing ANYWAY, and when they are finished I get compensated for my time. My plasma helps other people…and the $55 weekly adds up to $220 a month…that means I only have to come up with $80 out of my pocket for my tuition payment each month!

    My husband was at first very concerned that I was doing this, as he was afraid of lethargy, anemia, etc…but I have had no problems at all. I was advised to eat a lot of eggs, peanut butter, and other high protein foods (50-80 grams daily is suggested). I also take a daily iron supplement. I regularly drink 8 bottles of water a day, which makes for a much easier and faster donation.

    I donate with Biolife Plasma Services. Their centers are very nice and clean. They even have a supervised daycare there for people with children! I have never seen anyone that I would consider a “junkie”. Most of the people there are college students or people who are having a little trouble financially due to the economy. I never have a long wait time, because the center is has to go by strict guidelines and they techs are timed from the time you check in until the time you leave.

    I go to the center every Tuesday and Friday morning. They draw my blood to check for iron and protein levels (all should be fine if you do what I stated above), and I give my donation. For my Tuesday donation, I receive $20, and for my Friday donation I receive $35, both on a debit card. To avoid any weekly surcharges to the card, as soon as I leave the center, I immediately go to an ATM machine and remove the money from my card…I then put it in my savings account until its time for me to make my monthly tuition payment. This works great for me…and my husband is fairly happy now with the fact that I’m still healthy…have energy afterwards…and he doesn’t have to work extra shifts to pay for my schooling!

  81. TJ says:

    I tried to donating Plasma a week ago. After 5 hours for testing and physical, was disqualified due to a large back piece.
    The male nurse was very polite and brought out the regulation book stating in detail about mural tatoos. Now I know.
    It’s too bad, I always donate blood and never had any issues.

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