Save Lives While Earning Money: The Benefits of Becoming a Plasma Donor

Crystal Jackson

There are many benefits to donating plasma. The most obvious benefit is that it pays. Eligible donors can make two donations each week, and most plasma clinics offer new donor and referral bonuses. It's one of the many ways you can make a little extra money during these challenging economic times, but you might not realize that plasma donations are also necessary and life-saving for many medical issues. Additionally, your plasma donation can contribute to your health.

Did you know?

- Ten thousand units of plasma are needed daily.

- Four million units are transfused each year in the United States alone.

- Plasma is 92% water.

- Approximately 125,000 Americans need plasma donations for their medical treatment.

- Plasma donations are used to treat trauma, shock, and burn patients.

- Plasma donations treat severe liver disease, immune deficiencies, and bleeding disorders.

- Plasma donors receive an average of $50 to $75 per donation.

- You could earn up to $900 per month with new donor bonuses at some clinics.

- The highest-paying donation centers are CSL Plasma, BioLife Plasma, Grifols, KEDPLASMA, and Octapharma Plasma.

How Plasma Donation Works

You might be wondering how exactly a plasma donation differs from donating blood. First of all, you're not paid for your blood donation, but that's not the only difference. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:

Plasma center staff will set you up at a plasmapheresis machine. This is a specialized medical device that collects whole blood from a vein in your arm. It separates out the plasma and returns the remaining blood components to your body. Your blood cells (red and white) and platelets are returned to your body via the machine. During the donation, you are usually given saline to help you maintain your circulation. Sometimes you may receive oral fluids instead. The entire process takes about an hour.

Your First Visit

On your first visit, allow approximately 2 hours for your initial health screening and registration. Bring your photo identification, social security card, and proof of current address with you on your first visit. Your health screening will involve taking your blood pressure, testing your iron levels, checking your pulse and blood pressure, reviewing your vital signs, and discussing your medical history as well as any medications you might be taking.

If approved, you'll be allowed to make a donation on your first visit. After that, you can make a second donation after 48 hours. After the initial visit, most donations will take about one hour. Only 2 donations are allowed every 7 days. Your funds will be deposited on a card, which you will receive after you finish the registration and approval process.

Preparing for Plasma Donation

Before you donate, make sure to drink at least 32 ounces of water 2-3 hours prior to your appointment. Make sure you eat a meal high in protein and iron before your donation. Limit your alcohol and caffeine intake, and be sure to get plenty of sleep as you won't be allowed to nap while donating.

Side Effects of Plasma Donation

Plasma donation can have some side effects. The most common side effects include fatigue, dehydration, bleeding, bruising, dizziness, or lightheadedness. Allergic reactions and infections are rare but possible. Staying hydrated before and after donating, eating a protein and iron-rich diet, and getting enough rest can all help alleviate these side effects or prevent them from occurring.

What Would Prevent an Applicant from Donating?

You must be 18 years old and at least 110 pounds to qualify for plasma donation. You must also be able to pass the initial health screening. You may be disqualified from donating plasma if any of the following conditions apply:

- You have a chronic illness with high blood pressure.

- You have epilepsy.

- You have HIV or AIDS.

- You have a chronic or infectious disease.

- You are anemic.

There are also ways that your donation may be deferred to a later date. For instance, if you've had a recent tattoo or piercing, you'll have to wait 3 to 6 months to donate plasma. You can not donate while you are ill or running a fever. If your iron level is too low, you will be deferred until it is at the appropriate level for donation. If you've had a transplant, you may be disqualified or deferred. You might also be deferred if you've had surgery, transfusion, or are taking certain medications. Jail time and travel to certain countries can also defer your donation.

What Are the Health Benefits of Donating?

You might not realize that there are several health benefits to becoming a plasma donor. For instance, donating plasma can make you more conscientious about your health. If you're following the recommended guidelines for donation, you'll likely be more hydrated and make healthier food choices.

Plasma donation can also help clean your blood, lower your cholesterol, and decrease your risk of developing heart disease. You might see improved vein health and better blood flow in your time as a donor. You might even find that donating plasma boosts your mood, which can lower your levels of stress and anxiety.

The money you earn from plasma donation can be used to pay off debt, save for a vacation, or even to supplement your income. It can be a great way to boost your financial, physical, and mental health — all while helping others. If you're ready to become a donor, you'll want to visit a plasma donation center near you today to see if you qualify.

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Crystal Jackson is a former therapist turned writer. She is the author of the Heart of Madison series and a volume of poetry entitled My Words Are Whiskey. Her work has been featured on Medium, Elite Daily, Thought Catalog, The Good Men Project, and Elephant Journal. When she's not writing, you can find her traveling, paddle boarding, cycling, throwing axes badly but with terrifying enthusiasm, hiking, or curled up with her nose in a book in Madison, Georgia, where she lives with one puppy and two wild and wonderful children. Crystal writes about relationships, mental health, parenting, social justice, and more. Never miss an update. Subscribe to emails:

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