How much you earn from selling plasma depends on the donation center you visit. That said, a typical person donating plasma on a regular basis will be able to earn between $300 to $600 per year. Most visits will net $20 to $50 per visit, though plasma shortages can drive blood plasma prices up to $150 per visit.
When you’re strapped for cash, you may have to get a little creative when looking for side gigs. One option to consider is donating plasma for money. Despite the ethical concerns some people (and countries) have regarding plasma donations, you can sell your plasma across the U.S.
In addition to making some extra cash, doctors all around the world need plasma to save lives. But how much do you get for selling plasma? Does every donation center pay you the same amount? In this article, we’ll take a deeper look at plasma donation centers, what happens during the donation process, and how much money you can expect to make from donating plasma.
What is plasma?
Plasma is a compound in blood. When you donate blood, your blood gets separated into three different bags: red blood cells, white blood cells, and plasma. Around 55% of your blood’s mass is plasma.
Plasma is needed by doctors, dentists, and medical staff for important, potentially life-saving procedures. Certain medicines can also be made with donated plasma.
How much money do you get for donating plasma?
Selling plasma can be fairly lucrative, as long as you live in the United States. In most other countries, the sale of plasma is illegal. That said, all 50 states allow you to sell plasma as of 2022.
Plasma donation centers will pay you a small fee for your donated plasma. This is seen as a measure of goodwill. However, keep in mind that each plasma donation center will pay for your plasma differently. Most centers will pay between $20 to $50 per donation. According to some sources, your first set of plasma donations can net you as much as $1,000 for eight sessions. However, this is not the norm.
How does a plasma donation center determine how much they pay you?
This depends on the plasma collection center. Certain organizations, such as the American Red Cross, do not pay at all. Others — such as BioLife Plasma, CSL Plasma, or other private companies — will have their own pay scale.
Most donation centers pay according to how much blood you donate. This is based on your weight. Heavier people will be able to donate more plasma, which in turn means that their donations are going to be higher.
How does the plasma donation process work?
Now that you know how much it pays, let’s talk about plasma donation requirements and the process behind it.
- Visit a plasma donation center near you. Explain that you want to donate plasma to the person at the front desk. Make sure to mention whether this is your first donation.
- Schedule two short physical examinations prior to donating plasma for the first time. One will be a quick questionnaire about your health history, as well as a weigh-in. Another will be an evaluation of your protein and hemoglobin levels. Your medical history will be recorded for future use at the facility.
- The day prior to your donation, avoid fatty dishes like hamburgers, nachos, and other foods. This can cause your plasma to look milky or throw off the plasma proteins in your counts. Some plasma centers can disqualify you for having too much fat in your plasma, so make sure to follow dietary guidelines outlined to you by the donation center.
- The day of your first donation, a needle will go into your arm. The needle will extract your blood. From there, the plasma is separated from your red blood cells and other components. Your red blood cells and other goods get returned using a saline solution, and the donation center will keep the bag of plasma. This is all done automatically with a machine.
- A medical tech will then remove the needle and let you relax for a moment in a lounge. Many donation centers will have a small lounge where you can eat a cookie and relax for a short period of time, if you need to. After all, some people get a little tired when they donate blood or plasma.
What requirements do plasma donation centers have for potential plasma donors?
You must be in decent health according to a doctor in order to donate. This means you:
- Must be at least 110 pounds and 18 years of age, but no older than 68. If you are older, you’ll need a physician’s note to donate.
- Cannot be pregnant.
- Cannot have blood-borne viruses like hepatitis, HIV, AIDs, or Zika.
- Cannot have ingested drugs, steroids, or other nonprescription substances within the past four months.
- Cannot have had sex for money in the past three months.
- Cannot have porphyria, hemophilia, or other disorders that could make donating plasma dangerous for you.
- Cannot have been institutionalized in a correctional facility for 72 hours or more in the past 12 months.
How long does it take to donate plasma?
For most donors, you can expect to be at the plasma center for about an hour or so. In rare cases, the donation process can take up to two hours.
How can you make the most money from donating plasma?
Donating plasma, just like donating blood, can be fairly lucrative or can pay almost nothing. You should consider donating plasma as a side gig to bolster emergency cash rather than a full-time position. If you want to make a lot of money donating plasma, these tips can help:
- Call and ask about first plasma donation bonuses. Some groups have a massive bonus that can equal as much as $300 or more. First-time donors would be foolish to pass up that cash.
- Call ahead and ask about donation frequency guidelines. Most areas will not allow you to donate plasma more than 13 times a year. However, some may be willing to allow you to donate more frequently. More trips can mean more cash for you.
- While you’re on the phone, ask about pay rates for a typical plasma donor. There is no reason why you shouldn’t come out and ask about how much you should expect. Most donation centers won’t beat around the bush with payouts and will give you a specific number.
How do you get paid for donating plasma?
Most donation centers now offer plasma donation fees that are sent directly to a credit card or debit card. Some also may offer gift cards, which isn’t always ideal. When in doubt, ask the donation center about what payment method they use.
Is there a downside to selling plasma?
Donating plasma can have its downsides. Many people may feel weak, lethargic, or even dizzy after a donation. You may also experience bouts of nausea, excessive bruising, and general malaise. It’s best to take it easy on the day of your donation.
How often can you donate plasma?
This depends on who you ask. The FDA says it is safe to donate a single unit of plasma within 8 weeks or two units within 16 weeks. Most donation centers will only allow you to donate 13 times per year.
Is it painful donating plasma?
To a point, yes. If you have been vaccinated, you know that a needle in the arm feels painful, but not extremely painful. It’s like a bee sting.
Is plasma money taxable?
Plasma donation is a side gig in the eyes of the tax system. If you make more than $400 selling plasma, you must file it on your taxes.
What foods should you avoid after donating plasma?
For the most part, you should avoid any food that could cause blood thinning or reduce your chances of absorbing iron. This may include salmon, red wine, or even almonds.
- Plasma donation is best for an emergency fund, not a full-time gig.
- You can get anywhere from $20 to $50 per donation, at a minimum.
- Certain plasma donation centers do not offer any payout, so you should call ahead to find out who pays well.
- Your plasma donation will involve a medical history review, a medical exam, and an actual donation round.
- Most plasma donations will take between 45 minutes to 90 minutes, though the average appointment takes about one hour.
- To get the most money possible, make sure to mention if you are a first-time donor.
View Article Sources
- Give Plasma — U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
- Convalescent Plasma — National Institutes of Health
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