If you’re looking to make a little extra cash, and help others while you’re at it, you may want to consider donating plasma.
Thousands of Americans across the country are lining up to earn a little extra cash through blood plasma donation. The plasma donation process is similar to giving blood but does take a little longer. Thankfully you can be compensated for your time.
Donating plasma offers the potential to earn $300 to $400 a month. Before you get started, however, you need to be aware of what’s involved to help you make an informed decision.
Plasma Donation Basics
It was reported by ABC News that 94% of paid plasma that was used to create medicines around the world, was donated by American donors.
Blood plasma is the part of the blood that’s actually a clear liquid. It consists of water, enzymes, antibodies, and proteins. Plasma donation is different from giving blood at the Red Cross, however.
To obtain the clear plasma, your blood is drawn, then the plasma is separated. The blood is then returned to your body.
There are hundreds of donation centers around the country. However, to donate, you must typically meet some basic requirements.
- You must be aged 18 to 69
- You must weigh over 110 pounds
- You must have proper levels of iron, hemoglobin, and blood
- You need to pass a basic physical and be free of infectious diseases
- You must have a legal Social Security Card or government ID to prove that you’re a citizen.
The rules can vary according to your home state. Local laws may even override the requirements of the plasma donation center. For example, some states have a higher age requirement than the typical center age of 18.
Some states also have rules prohibiting people with piercings or tattoos from donating. There may also be a minimum number of donations permitted within a specified timeframe.
If you don’t qualify as a plasma donor, you may be given a temporary or permanent deferral. Temporary deferrals occur if you’re sick, your blood, iron or hemoglobin levels are too low, or you’re recovering from a procedure. You’ll be advised on what to do and when you can return to donate plasma for money.
Permanent deferrals typically result from your age, weight, or if you have a medical condition that could negatively affect you or the recipient of your blood plasma. However, if you believe the permanent deferral was given in error, you can obtain a second medical opinion to try to overturn the decision.
How To Prepare To Donate Plasma
In order to donate plasma, you will need to hydrate, avoid alcohol and caffeinated drinks, eat healthily, and prepare the necessary paperwork.
Before you visit a plasma donation center, you will need to drink plenty of fluids and eat heart-healthy meals such as vegetables, fruits, and fish. You should also try to avoid high cholesterol, fatty foods.
Being properly hydrated is crucial, so you should drink plenty of water the day before and the day of donation. Caffeinated drinks and alcohol are diuretics, so it is best to avoid them, as they can dehydrate you.
When you arrive at the center, you will need to present your Social Security card, a photo ID and proof of address. Your name and address should match on all of your documentation.
What’s Involved In Donating Plasma?
If you’re a first time donor, you should plan for your visit to the center to take up to two hours. When you arrive at the center, you’ll be asked to complete a health history and go through a basic physical. This can include a heart check, urine test, and reflex test. They will also prick your finger to test your iron, blood, and hemoglobin levels.
Once they are ready for you to begin donating, you’ll be sat in a semi-reclining chair. The actual process looks similar to standard blood donation. However, as the process is more involved compared to donating blood, the actual donation part takes up to an hour.
When your blood is drawn, the center team separates the plasma using a plasmapheresis machine, and the blood will be returned to your body.
If you choose to donate again, the process will be quicker. Future donations typically take an hour, since you only need to confirm nothing has changed about your medical situation.
If you plan on donating plasma regularly, bear in mind that there are limits. Generally, you can donate no more than twice a week, but you need to leave 24 to 48 hours between donations. This allows your body enough time to replace the lost plasma. However, drinking plenty of water can assist in this process.
One common concern is if it will hurt to donate plasma. However, the discomfort involved is similar to donating blood.
In addition to the finger prick, the technician will use an IV and needle to draw your blood and return the plasma free blood to your body. When the blood is returned, it is mixed with saline. This can make it cold, which can cause a little discomfort. So, it is a good idea to bring a jacket or blanket.
Obviously, if you start to feel very uncomfortable during donation, tell the technician immediately.
How Much Can You Earn Via Your Plasma Donations?
If you choose to donate twice a week, there is the potential to make up to $400 a month or up to $50 per donation. That’s not too shabby, given that it will typically take 60 to 90 minutes per visit.
There are factors that will determine your earning potential for plasma donation, however. In addition to how often you donate, your weight, the quantity of plasma you donate, and which donation center you use will influence your earnings.
Typically, if it is your first time donating plasma, you’ll make more. Many centers have incentives for new donors, and since the process takes longer, you’re compensated accordingly.
Additionally, the FDA requires that plasma donations correspond with body weight. So you’ll get paid more if your body weight is more, since you can donate more plasma. Generally, the weight ranges are split up in ranges similar to this:
- 110 to 149 pounds
- 150 to 174 pounds
- 175 to 400 pounds
Also, you may have a certain type of protein that’s in high demand. If you carry this type of protein in your plasma, the center may offer you more money.
Some centers also offer “frequent flyer” incentives. So, you’ll receive more per donation if you regularly visit the same centers.
Where Can I Donate Plasma?
A great place to start when looking for the highest paying plasma donation center near you is to check out the website DonatingPlasma.org. It has an easy to use search tool where you can plug in your city/zip and it will show you centers near you.
Although the FDA inspects donation centers to ensure compliance with the laws, it does not own or manage them. These centers are operated by third-party for-profit companies, and there is no central organization that receives plasma. You’ll need to either use a site like DonatingPlasma.org or search Google for “plasma donation near me” and ensure you choose an FDA compliant location.
Highest-Paying Plasma Donation Centers
Plasma donation is a competitive business. It is worth comparing the earning potential if you have multiple centers in your local area. You may even find you can obtain higher than typical payouts.
A good starting point is to look for first-time plasma donor bonuses. Many centers promote bonuses on their websites (many of which you’ll find below). This could allow you to earn $500 in your first month rather than $300. Donation centers also run promotions where you can earn more if you return to donate again. Although it can feel strange to see promotions and coupons on a donation site, this is how the industry works, so be sure to take advantage of the best deal.
Here are some of the trusted donation centers in different states and what you can expect to be paid.
B Positive Plasma
B Positive Plasma is one of the highest paying plasma donation centers out there, but they currently only have locations in MD and NJ.
You can earn up to $500 a month, and they sometimes have promos for first-time donors where you can get $50 per donation for your first five donations.
You’ll get paid fast via a Visa Debit card and you can earn even more by referring a friend!
Biolife operates in 28 states in the USA, including AZ, AR, CO, FL, GA, IA, ID, IL, IN, MI, MN, MO, MT, NC, ND, NE, OH, OK, PA, SC, TN, TX, UT, VA, WA, WV, WI, WY.
New donors at certain centers can earn bonuses, which offers the potential to earn up to $600 in your first month. Centers also run local promotions. The typical rate is up to $50 per donation. Payments are made with a Biolife prepaid debit card.
Biotest Plasma Center
Biotest Plasma Center has locations in AR, FL, GA, IA, NC, NE, NM, OH, PA, SC, SD, TX. You can earn up to $50 for the first five donations, and subsequent donations will earn you $35 to $45. There are also sweepstakes and bonuses when you refer a friend, which can boost your earnings. Payment is made via a Mastercard prepaid debit card.
BPL Plasma has centers in AR, AZ, CO, FL, IL, KY, ME, MN, MO, NC, NM, OH, OK, TX. They offer up to $50 for your first five donations, but there are seasonal promotions to boost your earnings.
However, BPL Plasma requires donors to be 18 to 65, rather than 69 and not to have had any tattoos or piercings in the last 12 months.
CSL Plasma has locations in AL, AZ, CO, DE, FL, GA, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MD, MI, MN, MS, MO, NE, NC, NJ, NV, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, TN, TX, UT, WA, WV, WI. There are also multiple locations within the same state. For example, in Alabama, there are Birmingham, Auburn, and two Montgomery centers.
You can earn up to $50 per donation, with a potential for up to $400 a month. There are also monthly promotions. You’ll receive points that you can redeem for prepaid debit cards or merchandise.
GCAM Plasma has locations in CA, ID, IN, TX, WA, and you can earn up to $25-$40 for each donation. Payment methods vary, so you would need to contact your local center.
Grifols has more than a hundred locations across the U.S including AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, FL, GA, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MD, MI, MN, MS, NC, NV, OH, OK, OR, PA, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, WA, WI. This company owns a variety of centers, including Biomat USA, Talecris, Plasma Biological Resources, and Interstate Blood Bank.
You can expect to receive up to $25 per donation via a prepaid debit card. However, Grifols also operates a refer a friend program for additional bonuses.
Immunotek has locations in 8 states including AL, FL, MS, NC, PA, SC, TN, TX.
The amount you can earn isn’t listed on their website, and pay rates for donations vary from location to location.
They do offer a $20 referral bonus when you refer a a friend who donates.
The Interstate Companies has locations in 14 states including FL, IL, IN, KY, MD, MO, MI, MS, NC, OH, PA, TN, TX, WI.
While they don’t list how much you can earn on their website, users online have stated they pay $50 each for the first 5 donations, and anywhere from $25-35 per donation after that.
KEDPlasma has centers in 11 states, including AL, FL, GA, LA, NC, NY, SC.
You can earn up to $50 for your first five donations. However, returning donors may qualify for a $20 lapse bonus coupon”. You would need to leave at least 14 days between donations.
This company also operates Kedrewards, a loyalty rewards program, which creates an opportunity to earn additional bonuses. The payment methods can vary according to location, but typically you’ll be offered a prepaid debit card.
Octapharma has more than 100 locations across the USA including AL, AR, CA, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, LA, MD, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, NE, NV, OH, OK, SC, TX, UT, VA, WA, WI.
You can earn up to $50 each for your first five donations. There are also frequency bonuses and a New Donor bonus. For example, you may earn extra if you donate more frequently in certain months. This is usually when there is a high demand for plasma but few donors.
You’ll be paid via prepaid debit card, but you can also accumulate reward points that can offer sweepstake entries and other discounts.
The Tax Implications Of Donating Plasma For Money
Most plasma donation centers will load your payment onto a prepaid debit card. You’re unlikely to be provided a tax form that reports your taxable income as you would with a day job.
However, not getting a 1099-MISC IRS form will not let you off the hook. You’re required by the IRS to file a return if you make more than $400 from “gig work”. Donating plasma does count as gig work, so keep a track of your earnings.
You will be responsible for reporting the income made from donating plasma when you file your taxes. So, it is a good idea to set aside a few dollars of each payment to avoid a nasty tax surprise.
The Side Effects And Potential Risks Of Plasma Donation
Of course, you should not try anything without being aware of the possible side effects and potential risks. Fortunately, plasma donations are considered relatively safe. It is a well-understood process, but there is a possibility of side effects.
Many of the possible side effects are similar to donating blood. Since needles are involved in the process, you may experience tenderness or bruising around the injection site. There could be discoloration, pain, or swelling, but these should subside relatively quickly. You may also have a reaction to the disinfectant used. This is often iodine, so if you know you have an iodine sensitivity, mention it to the center.
Some donors can also feel faint or experience dizziness. This is due to fluid being removed from the body, which causes a reaction to this stress. You can minimize your risk of this by drinking plenty of fluids the day before and the day of donation.
In less common cases, you may experience a citrate reaction. This is an anticoagulant that they use, so the blood doesn’t clot during collection. You may experience a reaction to the citrate, which often presents as a tingling in the fingers or around the mouth and nose. In severe cases, it can cause shortness of breath, shivering, twitching, or a rapid or slowing pulse.
If you experience any symptoms during the donation process, it is important to let the center staff know. You should also follow instructions following the donation. For example, you may be told to remain seated and have a drink after donation. This will help your body to recover from the stress of donation.
Donating Plasma After COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a serious impact on the economy and it may be the reason why you’re considering donating plasma to make extra money. Fortunately, it is possible to donate plasma even if you’re recovering from COVID-19.
In fact, the FDA is encouraging people to begin donating after a negative COVID test and “complete resolution of symptoms”.
President Trump came out with statements this week encouraging people to donate plasma after having COVID-19 so that the medical community can get plasma with the antibodies to help patients who are still struggling with the disease. You will need to wait at least 14 days after your symptoms are resolved before you can make a donation, but giving your plasma with antibodies can be very helpful, and life-saving, for those in need.
Donating Plasma Is A Legit Way To Earn Some Extra Cash
Donating plasma is a legit way to earn some extra cash while helping others with life-saving plasma.
You only need two or three hours a week to donate plasma and you could make $300 to $400 a month. Anyone can do it as long as they meet the guidelines, and as long as they have no qualms with being stuck with a needle and sitting in a chair for a few hours a month. If that sounds like you this could be an easy way to earn some extra income.
If you’re not comfortable with the idea of donating plasma for money, you can still donate for free. You can visit your local Red Cross Center to donate blood plasma. The Red Cross allows donations every 28 days, so you can still help people and potentially save lives.
Have you gone through the process to donate plasma for money? Tell us how it went!