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How Much Can You Make Donating Plasma?

Plasma Donation

Have you ever thought of different ways that you could potentially make extra money? Maybe you’ve thought about taking on that second job or even starting your own side gig. One thing that you might not have thought of is donating plasma. Even if you've never done it, you’ve probably at least heard of someone else who has. The question is, what exactly does it mean to donate plasma? Furthermore, why is it important? Of course, there is the biggest question of all. How much can you make from doing it? Fortunately, you've come to the right place because all of these questions have answers.

What Does It Mean to Donate Plasma?

Before we get too far into what it means to donate plasma, you should know what it is. Plasma is a critical component of blood. Think of it as the liquid form of blood. It is something that transports all of the red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. They send them wherever they need to go to effectively clot or even fight disease. Without plasma, it is impossible for any of these crucial elements of the blood to get where they need to go. However, there are some individuals who don't make adequate levels of plasma. This is for one reason or another, usually due to disease. In other cases, they need critical plasma because they've been severely burned. When you donate plasma, you have a genuine opportunity to help save someone's life.

In a more direct manner, you can help by donating the critical plasma that someone might need in one of the aforementioned cases. Finally, in a more indirect sense, you're also helping because researchers use blood plasma to do all kinds of research about the disease process. In fact, it's a critical element of researching better and more effective ways to fight everything from heart disease to cancer. As a result, the donation of plasma is absolutely crucial because without it, much of this research would grind to a halt. Now that you know the more noble reasons to donate plasma, it's time to get down to the reason that some people donate it for money.

How Do You Get Paid for Donating Plasma?

In reality, you get paid for donating plasma in much the same way and that you get paid for many other services. It's important to realize that there are organizations that will allow you to donate plasma without compensation. The American Red Cross is probably one of the biggest in this particular country, but there are several institutions that operate on that level across the board. In the United States, there are also several centers that refer to plasma donations as a compensated service.

They all pay different rates, so the amount of money that you can potentially make can vary a great deal from one situation to the next. The one thing that doesn’t exist is a blanket payment across the board. There are a number of different companies out there where you can donate plasma for compensation. CSL Plasma, Biotech and Octapharma are just a few.

Proximity to You

The most effective way that you can see how much money you can make in your area is to see which plasma donation centers are active close to the place in which you live. Many of them have limits on how far away you can live and still donate, so if you're more than 30 to 50 miles away, that could potentially be a problem. As a matter of fact, you're almost always required to provide proof that you live where you say you live. Typically, they won't even take just a driver's license as proof of that fact.

You almost always have to bring in some type of utility bill that is in your name which matches the address that you're claiming as your residence. In short, they get touchy about where you live so that can have a direct impact on how many choices you have available to you when you're thinking about donating plasma for compensation.

How Much Money Can You Make from Donating Plasma?

As previously mentioned, the amount of money that you can potentially make from donating plasma will vary depending on several factors. In order to give you a clear picture of how much you can potentially make, it's imperative that those factors be broken down. First and foremost, the amount of money that you can potentially make will be affected by where you live and what is considered the going rate in that particular area. In addition, your bottom line will likely be affected by the number of donation centers in the area and how much competition is involved. Still other factors are involved in the amount of money that you can potentially make, not the least of which includes how often you donate and even your weight.

Your Weight

Why does it matter how much you weigh? According to the FDA, you can only donate twice a week and during each donation, there is only a certain amount of plasma that can be donated. If you weigh more, you can actually donate more plasma because your body is capable of handling that additional loss without you experiencing a higher likelihood of ill health effects. Someone who is smaller and doesn't weigh as much can't afford to lose as much fluid, so they are compensated less.

It will probably be the only time that you're actually glad that you haven't lost that last 10 pounds you've been trying to lose for six months. Now that you know one of the factors involved with how much money you can make, it's imperative that we go back and take a closer look at some of the other factors, such as how often you can donate in a week's time and why it matters.

Limits on Plasma Donations

As previously mentioned, there are limits on the number of plasma donations you can make in a week. Typically, you're allowed to make two donations, provided that you don't have any significant health issues and you didn't have any major problems during your last donation. More often than not, the donation center will pay you a smaller amount for the first donation that you make in a week. As previously mentioned, it all depends on the center at which you are donating, where you live and your weight. That being said, a good ballpark for your first donation at most centers is around $20. Some of them will pay you in cash and others will pay you on what amounts to a pre-loaded card that can be used like a credit card.

Granted, $20 isn't a lot of money for spending an hour of your time, which is about how long it takes to donate plasma in most cases. However, the benefits typically come later in the week when you make your second donation. That's because most centers pay significantly more for that second donation, often more than twice as much as you got during your first one. Again, the exact price will vary but in many cases, you can count on somewhere in the neighborhood of $50 to $60 for your second donation.

Second Donations

Why do you get paid more during the second donation? In reality, it's a ploy by the donation center to get you to come in twice a week. Remember, they're running a business. They need to get as many donations per week as they can so they can sell as much plasma as possible, thereby ensuring that they make as much money as they possibly can.

Your Donation

If they gave you the lion's share of the money on your first donation, it's a safe bet that roughly half of their clientele wouldn't come back for the second donation. Giving you the bigger chunk of money at the end of the week essentially forces you to do your first donation in order to be eligible for that larger sum and it ensures that you'll keep coming back as much as you possibly can.

If you meet the weight requirements for the largest donation category, which usually requires you to weigh at least 180 pounds, then you stand a chance of making roughly $70 a week based on this particular model. If you're lucky and you live in an area where there is more competition or there is an especially high demand for plasma, you might even be able to make more than that. There are some centers that pay as much as $100 a week, but they still make sure that you only get a small amount of compensation during that first donation so that you will show up for the second one.

You Can Make More Money During Special Promotions

By now, you know that you can typically make anywhere between $200 in $300 during a typical month, provided that you donate on a regular basis. Fortunately, virtually every one of these facilities incorporate special promotions so that you can potentially make more. For example, one of the largest donation centers is CSL Plasma. They routinely pay their newcomers more money and they pay between $20 and $30 for each successful referral. They also run special promotions that give you an opportunity to earn at higher rates. These promotions vary and they usually only go on for a limited time, but if you're fortunate enough to get in on them, you stand a chance to make as much as $1,000 a month.

It would probably be remiss to think that you're actually going to make that much money every single month, but it's good to know that the opportunity is there. There are even times when they're doing a special promotion where they will pay you more for your plasma donation if you qualify for special projects that they're working on where they're being paid at a higher rate for plasma with certain proteins in it. The end result is that you have the chance to make more money if you're participating in one of those programs. However, it's worth noting that not everyone who donates will qualify for these programs. Therefore, it is anything but a given that you will end up making that much money in the long run.

Requirements and Potential Pitfalls

Of course, there are certain requirements that you have to meet if you plan on donating plasma. For starters, you have to be in generally good health and you have to pass a mini health screening each and every time you donate, even if you're doing so twice a week. The screening process typically includes an extensive questionnaire that asks you about how you're feeling and whether or not you've noticed any health changes recently, coupled with what amounts to a miniature physical. They'll take your vital signs and test your blood before you're allowed to go back and donate plasma. If anything isn't within their prescribed levels, you'll be sent home and told to come back at a later date.

There are also some potential pitfalls that you need to be aware of. Donating plasma isn't always for the faint of heart. If you have a problem with needles blood, it's probably best that you avoid this. By the same token, there are some genuine risks that are involved. The process doesn't always go according to plan. It can cause the fluid that is being sent back into the vein from the machine to get into the surrounding muscle tissue instead of going into the vein itself. It's called an infiltration and when it happens, it makes your arm swell up like a balloon. It's also one of the most painful experiences you'll likely ever have.

Being Barred

If it happens a lot, you run the risk of being barred from donating plasma by the facility. It becomes a liability that simply isn't worth it on their end. There's also the time factor. In order to make the most out of donating, you must donate twice a week. Furthermore, it takes anywhere from an hour to an hour and a half each time. That doesn't include travel time. You may spend anywhere between two and three hours in the donation process, twice a week.

At the end of the day, no one can decide if it's worth it except you. Maybe you don't mind donating your time twice a week in order to get an extra $60 or even $70. On the other hand, you might feel like your time is worth more than that. The point is, the amount of money you can make depends on a lot of outside factors. It's important to call around and find out which facility near you will give you the best price. It’s not a perfect situation, but it does give you the chance to help others and make some money.

Dana Hanson

Written by Dana Hanson

Dana has extensive professional writing experience including technical and report writing, informational articles, persuasive articles, contrast and comparison, grant applications, and advertisement. She also enjoys creative writing, content writing on nearly any topic (particularly business and lifestyle), because as a lifelong learner, she loves to do research and possess a high skill level in this area. Her academic degrees include AA social Sci/BA English/MEd Adult Ed & Community & Human Resource Development and ABD in PhD studies in Indust & Org Psychology.

Read more posts by Dana Hanson

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