Did you know you can make money donating plasma? Not only do you get a great feeling from helping your fellow humans (more below!), but you can actually make good money doing it. First, why is there a need for plasma and why are companies like BioLife willing to pay you for yours? (Note: this is a guest post and referral links are used. Be sure to comment if you have questions!)
Why Donate Plasma?
From the BioLife website:
The plasma collected at BioLife Plasma Services is processed into a wide variety of life-saving therapeutics that benefit thousands of people every day. Plasma-based therapeutics are used in the treatment of serious disorders such as hemophilia and immune system deficiencies, and to treat victims of shock and burns. It is important to remember that plasma is not a substance that can be produced in a laboratory or some other artificial environment. It can only be obtained from healthy adults. Plasma donors help save lives.https://www.biolifeplasma.com/about-plasma/what-is-plasma
As you can see, plasma is used for a variety of life-saving medical treatments for vulnerable people. Donating is a great way to help people, and earn some money at the same time.
Can You Really Make Money Donating Plasma?
Absolutely! Because plasma is so valuable, companies like BioLife are willing to pay donors. BioLife pays donors for their plasma automatically after donating by transferring funds to a debit card. The donor can then withdraw money at an in-network ATM (easy to find using the app) or swipe the card at a retailer just like any other debit or credit card.
How Much Money Do You Make Donating Plasma at BioLife?
As you can see, the top right corner of the screen shows a payout balance of $680. BioLife runs promotions often, and the payouts vary depending on location and the current bonuses being offered. My first 3 donations paid $90 each, and the next 3 paid $110 each visit. Not bad for about 90 minutes of my time! This works out to an hourly rate of well over $50 an hour.
This donor also got referral bonuses. That’s correct, you can earn even more money from BioLife by referring friends using a unique referral link. When they donate twice, you earn $100!
What to Expect When Donating Plasma
Here’s the big question: what should I expect when donating plasma? Is it painful?
My experience with plassing (donating plasma for money) has been positive. It’s no more painful than any other needle stick, for example when blood is taken for medical tests.
Every time I donate, I get a finger stick (similar to how a diabetic pricks their finger to check their blood sugar). Then, a trained phlebotomist cleans the area inside my elbow well, then inserts a needle into the vein there to start the donation. Most of the time, I barely feel the needle going in. There is some mild discomfort and a sensation of coldness when the anti-coagulant goes into the IV. I do some breathing exercises and it passes quickly. By the time the donation process is done, I feel normal, or just a bit thirsty.
Some people experience a reaction from the anti-coagulant medication. It might feel like a tingling sensation in the lips and hands, and stomach discomfort or other symptoms. If this happens, you can notify the tech immediately and the donation process will be ended.
The plassing forum on Reddit is a great resource if you have questions about how to avoid having a reaction, and how to care for yourself before and after donation. You can also ask questions in-person from the techs at BioLife. All the employees I’ve encountered so far have been friendly, knowledgeable and have had a great bedside manner.
Your First Time Donating Plasma
Your first time donating plasma will be the most time-intensive. The process will take 2-3 hours. (Subsequently, donation visits will be as quick as an hour.)
First you’ll answer a series of questions about your health, then see a nurse for a quick (clothed) physical exam. You’ll also have a finger stick. This will happen each time you donate, to check your hematocrit and plasma protein levels. Your weight, temperature and blood pressure will be checked. Then, if you’re approved for donation, you’ll wait for a bed and the donation process will begin.
Afterwards, you’ll be asked to wait for 15 minutes for observation before leaving the building. (This only happens your first time, as a precaution.)
Scheduling your appointments is extremely simple using the BioLife app. BioLife even has a supervised childcare room you can schedule if you need to bring your kids with you.
More tips for making donating a comfortable experience:
- Take a blanket! The donation room tends to be very cold, and the anticoagulant medication can also feel cold going in. Many people bring a blanket for comfort.
- Consider a calcium supplement. Some have noted that taking a calcium supplement can help you avoid having a reaction to the anticoagulant medication. I don’t do this, but I do drink a glass of 2% milk or have Greek yogurt before I donate.
- Pump your hand or use a stress ball. While the needle is in your arm and removing blood from your body, you might find the process goes faster if you pump your fist. Some people use a squishy toy or stress ball for this.
- Bring a book or download a show to your phone. Since you’ll be lying still on a donation bed for an hour each time you donate, bring a little entertainment to distract yourself.
- Have a small snack and water with you. I like to carry a bottle of water to sip on. I also keep a small snack in my car, in case I feel hungry after donating.
What to do Before Donating Plasma
Hydrate well in the 24 hours before donating. You don’t need to force fluids, just drink plenty of water and avoid alcohol. It’s also wise to avoid caffeine for several hours before donating.
Avoid fatty foods like bacon and other fatty meats, cheese, pastries, pizza, etc. If you eat too much fat before donating, you might not be approved to donate that day.
I like to eat a “slow” carb meal with plenty of protein a couple of hours before donating. Beans and rice is a great choice, as is lean meat with vegetables, or a turkey or chicken sandwich (go easy on the mayo!). A snack of Greek yogurt with berries, or oatmeal with raisins would be good options.
Having a small meal before donating will also help you avoid getting low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia, during the donation process.
What to Do After Donating Plasma
Leave the bandage on for 1-2 hours. The pressure will help prevent bruising. Rest and avoid intense exercise for several hours after plasma donation. Hydrate well with water, an electrolyte beverage or juice. Since donating plasma removes protein from your body, it’s important to eat protein. It’s also wise to eat foods that contain iron before and after donating plasma. The BioLife website has more information about taking care of yourself, and if you’re approved to donate, you’ll receive a brochure with nutrition tips.
To sum up, donating plasma is a way to make some extra money while doing good. What questions do you have?