Sell your blood plasma and make extra money.
This is an idea I would have never thought of, but one of my co-workers, a woman named Julie, does it regularly. Julie’s
story is short: Her husband was injured at work. He is collecting temporary disability that amounts to only 70% of his usual pay. And, since they pretty much live paycheck to paycheck, Julie needed to find a way to compensate for the loss of income. Julie’s found several ways to do that. Selling blood plasma is one of them.
I’m always interested in ways to make extra money, so I talked to Julie about what to expect if I decided to sell plasma. Julie said the hardest part was getting past the idea that there was something shameful about selling blood plasma. Like many she assumed that most donors are drug addicts, mentally ill, or “strange folks”—in need of a financial quick-fix. When she walked into the collection facility, she was (pleasantly) surprised to find “normal” people there—people with houses, jobs, healthy bodies… It seems that quite a few “normal” people feel that selling plasma is an acceptable way to give income a boost.
I asked Julie a few specific questions: “Blood plasma”—what is it? How is it collected? Is the collections process safe? Does it take a lot of time? How much do you get paid?
What is blood plasma?
Plasma is the liquid part of blood. It’s a clear/yellowish fluid in which blood solids (red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets) are suspended. Basically, plasma is composed of water, salts, and protein.
How is plasma collected?
Blood is drawn from a donor’s arm by venipuncture. (In other words a needle is inserted into a vein in the arm.) Tubing is attached to the needle and blood is drawn into a collection container. It’s circulated through a machine that separates the liquid (plasma) and the solids. The plasma is reserved. A saline solution is added to the solids and that is pumped back to the donor through the tubing and needle.
Is the procedure safe?
Does the collection process take much time?
Generally, it’s about a 90 minute session. The first session takes about 2 hours; there’s some paperwork and a physical exam.
The first time Julie went to the collection facility she had to fill out several forms. They asked about her medical history, sex partners, and tattoos. She was tested for HIV, Hepatitis, and some other viruses. (Also, there was a finger-prick blood test to evaluate her hemoglobin and protein levels. This is a safety test for the donor’s benefit. A main reason for giving it is to insure the donor will not be anemic after the process. It is administered before every session. If the levels are to low, the donor will not be permitted to give at that time; Julie has never been turned away.) The collection process was explained and Julie was told how much and how she would be paid. A nurse gave her a short physical and advice on health and—if you can believe it—behavior. Here are some of tips:
- Eat and drink before you donate. Low blood sugar and dehydration can leave you feeling terrible after the procedure.
- Get a good night’s sleep the night prior to your donation.
- Don’t smoke prior to your donation.
- Don’t come in drunk or high. You could get banned from the premises.
- Don’t move the arm that the donation is being taken from.
- If you feel sick or dizzy tell someone.
After the first procedure was done Julie went back to the receptionist to get paid. Each subsequent donation has been pretty much the same.
How much does it pay?
Julie says she gets $25.00 per donation. She donates every other day which means $375.00 a month. Pay may vary depending where you live and which clinic you use. (You can find the clinics in the business section of a telephone directory or online.)
After Julie finished telling me about getting into a paid program, I asked for her thoughts on any particular positives or negatives to selling blood plasma.
She can make her donation when it fits her schedule. She gets paid immediately after each donation. Julie also made a joke: “Blood plasma is a renewable, sustainable product.” She may have been joking—but it’s true.
If for any reason, you don’t complete the procedure, you don’t get paid. In order to maximize the money you earn, you need to be committed. You need to show up regularly, sober, not high, and conform to their rules. Also, when to needle is inserted, it’s sometimes a little uncomfortable and there may be some scaring. (A large needle is used so that the donor’s red blood cells do not get damaged during the procedure.)
Yes! They use sterile equipment and new needles.
A lot of people are looking for a way to earn a few extra dollars. Selling blood plasma is a fairly quick way to make a little money. Donors are paid immediately, and over time the money can add up. The process is safe. I think selling blood plasma could be a viable way to supplement income.