Most side hustles or additional earning opportunities require you to leverage your current skillset or engage in basic activities to bring in a little extra money each month. However, there are a few money-making ideas out there that will allow you to make some money off of what your body has to offer.
One of these frequently mentioned but rarely discussed opportunities is donating plasma. But what exactly is plasma, and is donating it something that you would be able to do for extra cash?
Take a look at the guide below for a comprehensive overview on how to donate plasma and what you can expect throughout the process.
What Is Plasma?
Plasma is a clear liquid that plays a major role in carrying vital substances throughout the body. Comprised of water, salts, antibodies, proteins, and enzymes, this lesser-known portion of your blood makes up at least 55 percent of what is found within your bloodstream. Beyond its function as a carrier for other substances, plasma is also responsible for helping to clot blood, fight diseases, and remove waste produced by the cells in your body. Put simply, our body relies on plasma to handle day-to-day functions.
But what does it do for others? Donated plasma is applied to those in need of plasma protein therapies! Once it is separated from other cellular components within the bloodstream like red blood cells and white blood cells, plasma can be given to individuals who may be suffering from clotting disorders, patients who have been burned or those who have dealt with trauma, and individuals with immune deficiency disorder.
The fact that donating plasma will not only make you money but potentially save the lives of others can be a great incentive to donate!
Who Can Donate Plasma?
Plasma is always needed, which is why the request to donate is so heavily advertised. But not everyone who wants to donate may be eligible to. What are the eligibility requirements you must meet in order to donate plasma?
To be eligible to donate, you must be:
- Between the ages of 18-69 (although age requirements will vary depending upon the plasma center that you have in your area)
- At least 110 pounds (the more you weigh, the more you may earn)
- Have no transmissible viruses like HIV or hepatitis
- Be in general good health (exercise, diet, etc.)
- Must have balanced blood with the right levels of hemoglobin, iron, etc.
- Proof of residence
There are also additional considerations such as whether or not you recently had surgery, if you are pregnant, if you have had a piercing or tattoo within the last year, and what types of medications you may currently be taking.
Fitting within these general guidelines will likely determine whether you are an eligible candidate or not. That said, many plasma centers have their own rules as well as the laws of the state that govern them. It is important that you carefully research your local center to see what their guidelines are before you decide that donating plasma is a viable way to bring in some extra income each month.
What Does Donating Plasma Entail?
Generally, most people want to shoot first and ask questions later. However, in regards to donating plasma, it is important to understand what kind of process you will undergo each time you wish to donate throughout the month.
At first, the plasma donation process will seem slow. The first visit will generally take around two hours as the medical team will need to conduct a basic checkup and physical exam, file all the medical paperwork detailing your health and medical history, and make sure that you are the right candidate for donation.
Should you pass, they will then begin the plasma extraction process. Donating plasma is very similar to donating blood. They insert an IV into your arm, extract the blood, separate the blood from the plasma using a special machine, and return the blood (mixed with a saline solution) back into your body. This process takes about an hour on its own. It can be best to bring along a ball to squeeze so that you don’t experience any disruption in the blood flow.
Are There Any Concerns or Considerations to Keep in Mind?
Let’s be clear: when it comes to any type of money-earning opportunity where your body and its contents are involved, there are going to be risks present.
That does not mean that you should be deterred from donating plasma and making money from it. However, you do need to keep these potential risks in mind so that you do not undergo a process that may not be right for you.
But what are some of the risks that come with donating plasma? Some potential issues you should be aware of include:
- Bruising and tenderness at the injection site (generally goes away shortly after the donation process)
- Dizziness and fainting (a side effect of donating blood, be sure to take the proper precautions)
- An allergic reaction to the anticoagulant (citrate) that is used during the collection process
- Arterial punctures or infections at the injection site
Beyond the physical risks of donating, many are concerned about whether or not donating plasma is ethical. The good news? Donating plasma is ethical, as is demonstrated at the beginning of this guide. However, some people may not be comfortable with the lack of transparency offered by private centers. For example, centers will not necessarily tell you where your plasma is going, how it is being used, and what the process looks like after you donate. Additionally, your plasma is being sold to other companies for money.
As long as you are comfortable with the above, making money off of your plasma may be the right fit for you. If you are not as comfortable, you could instead choose to donate your plasma (truly donate) to an organization like the Red Cross.
How Often Can I Donate?
This answer is not as cut and dry as many expect it to be. Do some basic research and you’ll find that the Red Cross sets the standards as once every 28 days. However, private companies (the ones that will be paying you for your plasma) will generally let you donate up to twice a week with at least 24 to 48 hours in between donations.
Keep in mind that the frequency of which you donate is highly dependent upon certain health factors such as:
- Whether or not you’ve had surgery since you’ve last donated
- If you’re currently sick or are getting over an illness
- If your blood does not contain the proper levels of iron, hemoglobin, or blood
Any of the above will result in a temporary deferral until you meet the center’s expectations. The healthier you keep yourself and avoid these common issues, the more you can donate and the more money you’ll make throughout the month.
Tips for the Donation Process
Ready to begin donating? Great! There are a couple of tips that will help you make sure you are always ready to donate your plasma and avoid some of the common issues that many donators face.
- Drink plenty of water on both a daily basis as well as before your donation appointments, this will prevent the dizziness and fainting that some experience after donating.
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet.
- Avoid drinking caffeine or alcohol as these can dehydrate you and counteract your water-drinking efforts (and additional unhealthy substances like tobacco).
- Bring a squeeze ball to keep your blood flow steady.
- Take supplements if issues like low iron are preventing you from donating frequently.
Generally, the center that you choose to donate plasma will to will have plenty of tips on their website that will provide you with instructions on what to do before and after the donation process.
How to Begin Donating
There are numerous plasma centers out there that are willing to pay you for your plasma. Although pay will depend upon the company you are working with and how you are built, you are sure to find a center that will offer you decent compensation in return for your time and plasma. Here are a few companies to consider that will help you get started.
- Where Are They Located?: Tennessee and Georgia
- Payout Methods: Cash Card
- Donation Payout: $70 for the first five donations within 30 days (advertised that you can make up to $500 each month) They also offer an extra $10 coupon for your second donation.
B Positive Plasma
- Where Are They Located?: New Jersey
- Payout Methods: Visa prepaid debit card
- Donation Payout: $60 for the first two donations within 45 days (advertised earnings of $50 weekly) They also have a referral program where you can earn $50 for each individual and advertise multiple repeat donor rewards programs.
BioLife Plasma Services
- Where Are They Located?: AL, AZ, AR, CO, FL, GA, IA, ID, IL, IN, LA, MD, MI, MN, MO, MT, NV, NC, ND, NE, OH, OK, PA, SC, TN, TX, UT, VA, WA, WV, WI, WY
- Payout Methods: BioLife prepaid debit card
- Donation Payout: $20 to $50 per donation
- Where Are They Located?: AR, AZ, CO, FL, IL, KY, ME, MN, MO, NC, NM, OH, OK, TX
- Payout Methods: Not specified on the website
- Donation Payout: Advertised earnings of up to $300 a month
- Where Are They Located?: AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, DE, FL, GA, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MD, MI, MN, MS, MO, ME, NE, NM, NC, NJ, NV, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, WA, WV, WI
- Payout Methods: Prepaid card or iGive rewards (gift cards, express passes)
- Donation Payout: $70 per donation (average, new donors) and up to $400 per month
- Where Are They Located?: CA, IN, ID, TX, WA
- Payout Methods: Not advertised on the website
- Donation Payout: $25 to $30 per donation
- Where Are They Located?: AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, FL, GA, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MD, MI, MN, MS, NC, NE, NV, OH, OK, OR, PA, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, WA, WI
- Payout Methods: Grifols Visa prepaid debit card
- Donation Payout: Up to $200 a month on average
- *Note: Many existing plasma donation centers have been purchased by and consolidated under the Grifols brand. If you can’t find a certain company online, check to see if they fall under Grifols.
- Where Are They Located?: FL, IL, IN, KY, MD, MI, MO, MS, PA, TN, TX, WI, OH, NC
- Payout Methods: Not specified on the website
- Donation Payout: Compensation ensured but not specified on the website
- Where Are They Located?: AL, FL, GA, LA, NC, NY, SC, TX, NE, OH, MS, PA
- Payout Methods: Not specified on the website
- Donation Payout: Compensation ensured, not specified on the website
- Where Are They Located?: AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, FL, GA, IL, IA, IN, KS, KY, LA, MD, MA, MI, MN, MS, MO, NC, NJ, NE, NV, OH, OK, OR, PA, SC, TN, TX, UT, VA, WA, WI
- Payout Methods: Octopharma Plasma prepaid debit card, donor promotions, OPI Rewards+ (express passes, e-gift cards, sweepstakes promotions)
- Donation Payout: Up to $400 per month
There are very few money-making opportunities where you are able to earn extra income and feel great about doing it. However, plasma donation hits both of these points. If you want to earn some ethical income and save lives in the process, use the guide above to learn more about plasma donation, whether or not it is right for you, and where you should turn to so that you can begin turning your plasma into rewards.