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Considering Selling Plasma? Here’s What You Need to Know

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If you’re looking for ways to make money while also helping others, one of the things you can consider is selling plasma.

According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, “plasma is the forgotten part of blood.”

Many people are familiar with red blood cells and white blood cells.

However, many don’t realize that plasma is one of the most important elements of blood and that it’s crucial when it comes to lifesaving medical care.

The process for a whole blood donation is quite simple, which is why you may routinely see advertisements for “Blood Drives” from the Red Cross.

This process typically involves the extraction of all components of blood, including white blood cells, red blood cells, platelets, and plasma.

Because the procedure is so straightforward — medical professionals just draw and bag your blood — you don’t receive compensation for your time or efforts.

The donation process for blood plasma, however, is a bit more challenging and time-consuming.

Doctors must extract only the plasma, instead of the whole blood.

That’s why you receive compensation when donating plasma.

Interested in learning more about how to make extra money and help your community with a plasma donation?

This article contains answers to FAQs that often arise when people debate whether they should sell plasma.

What Is Plasma?

The short answer is that plasma is the liquid component of your blood.

Plasma contains roughly 90% water.

The University of Rochester elaborates, “Plasma is the largest part of your blood.

It makes up more than half (about 55%) of its overall content.

When separated from the rest of the blood, plasma is a light yellow liquid.

Plasma carries water, salts, and enzymes.”

What Role Does Plasma Play in Our Overall Health?

Plasma is vital to our health because it transports things like proteins, nutrients, and hormones to the areas of our body in need.

Blood plasma also helps transport waste out of our body.

Blood plasma is critical for everything from helping muscle and bones grow, to helping blood clot when we get a cut.

Plasma is also useful for maintaining healthy blood pressure.

Why Consider Selling Plasma?

Selling plasma: An IV bag

Plasma has lifesaving properties.

Not only will you earn a few hundred dollars on the side, you could end up saving someone’s life.

After you donate plasma, labs will break down the various components into substances that doctors and hospitals can use.

For instance, the elements in plasma responsible for clotting are crucial in hospitals.

Doctors have also discovered that plasma is useful for treating rare diseases, such as immune deficiencies.

Additionally, many cancer patients need plasma transfusions.

The same goes for those having bone marrow or liver transplants.

Blood plasma is particularly useful for those with hemophilia.

Hemophilia is a condition that prevents blood from clotting.

Donating plasma could save lives.

What Are the Requirements for Plasma Donors?

If you’re interested in becoming a plasma donor, there are a few donation requirements that you’re going to have to meet.

The requirements may vary from organization to organization, but most plasma donation centers require you to be at least 17 or 18 years old.

Plasma donors also cannot weigh less than 110 pounds.

Before donating plasma for the first time, you’ll likely need to pass a medical examination to show that you’re in good health.

Plasma centers will request a new donor’s medical history to ensure he or she is a worthy donor candidate.

Your plasma donation center may conduct a screening to ensure that you don’t test positive for transmittable viruses and that your iron levels are adequate.

Your donation center will also confirm your blood type.

Those with blood type AB are in highest demand for plasma donations.

Your donation center will also ask for proof of address and identity.

You’ll need to bring a valid form of identification, proof of your Social Security number, and something that demonstrates your current address, such as a copy of your lease, a pay stub, or a piece of mail.

Your local plasma collection center can provide more information about what they require from first-time donors.

How Does the Donation Process Work?

Selling plasma: A doctor gives a consultation

During a whole blood donation, a healthcare professional will stick a needle in your arm and withdraw blood into vials or a bag.

As we’ve mentioned, completing a blood plasma donation is a bit more challenging.

Although the process is a bit complicated, it shouldn’t hurt any more than a whole blood donation.

You’ll start by going to a local plasma donation center for a consultation and screening.

Popular plasma donation centers include Octapharma Plasma, CSL Plasma, Grifols, and BioLife.

After you’ve successfully completed the initial screening, a phlebotomist (someone trained to draw blood) will insert a needle into your vein and begin pulling blood, just as he or she would during a whole blood donation.

However, during a blood plasma donation, your blood will then pass through a unique machine that separates the plasma from the other components in a process known as plasmapheresis.

The device will add a bit of saline solution to your red blood cells and then return this mixture to your body via a needle in your other arm.

There are a few side effects associated with donating plasma with some being more severe than others.

Since plasma is 90% water, one of the most likely side effects is dehydration.

However, the saline solution injected with your red blood cells should help combat this.

Any dehydration that you suffer after donating plasma shouldn’t be severe.

You may also sustain a bit of dizziness or lightheadedness.

There are also a few side effects associated with the needle.

You could suffer bruising at the puncture site.

In rare instances, you could also experience an infection at the area where the needle pierces the skin.

One of the most concerning side effects is a citrate reaction.

This occurs when citrate, a chemical from the machine that’s used to prevent clotting, enters your bloodstream.

This is a standard part of procedure.

When citrate enters your blood, your calcium levels will dip for a bit.

Most people don’t notice this happening.

However, if your calcium loss is severe, you’ll experience numbness and tingling.

You’ll also experience a metallic taste in your mouth.

Citrate reactions during plasma donations are quite rare.

Your healthcare provider will detail the risks before beginning your procedure.

If you notice any side effects during your procedure, your healthcare professional will pause the treatment until your body can readjust its calcium levels and process the citrate.

Although the side effects are citrate reactions are usually minimal, more serious symptoms could occur if you ignore the initial symptoms.

More severe side effects of a citrate reaction include spasms, vomiting, shock, and cardiac arrest.

Be sure to talk with a trusted healthcare professional about the potential risks and side effects of giving plasma before you make your first donation.

How Often Can You Donate Plasma?

According to Octapharma Plasma, you can donate no more than twice per week.

The company states that the Food and Drug Administration allows you to make up to two donations within seven days.

So you cannot make a full-time living by selling plasma.

Furthermore, some organizations’ requirements are stricter than those set forth by the FDA.

For instance, the Red Cross permits its AB Elite Plasma Donation once every 28 days, for a max of 13 times per year.

Some people have indicated that donating plasma frequently made them feel weak, fatigued, and “weird.”

You may want to talk with your healthcare provider to determine how often you should donate.

How Much Can You Make Selling Plasma?

When donating plasma, you can expect to make $20-$50, depending on where you choose to donate and the amount of plasma that you give.

The donation amount depends on your bodyweight.

There are three weight classifications that your phlebotomist will consider:

  • 110-149 pounds
  • 150-174 pounds
  • 175-400 pounds

If you weigh more, you have more plasma in your body.

Thus, those who weigh more can donate more during their session, allowing them to earn more in the process.

The exact amount that you can earn varies depending on which donation center you visit.

If you donate plasma frequently, you could expect to make up to $400 per month.

The payment methods will vary with each donation center, but options tend to include:

  • Cash
  • Gift cards
  • Prepaid debit cards

Tips to Consider When Donating

Selling plasma: A nurse draws blood for a physical exam

If you’d like to make money selling plasma, there are a few tips to remember.

First and foremost, plasma is protein-rich, so you’ll want to eat a protein-rich meal before your session.

The meal should provide you with around 50 grams of protein.

Make sure that you drink plenty of fluids before, during, and after your session.

Doing so will help you stay hydrated after your procedure is complete.

You’ll also want to make sure you get enough rest the night before, as some people feel fatigued after having plasma withdrawn.

Make Money While Helping Others

If you’re looking for ways to earn money while helping others, plasma provides you with an excellent chance to do so.

However, donating plasma may not be right for everyone.

Perhaps you don’t pass the required qualifications or are wary of the potential side effects associated with the donation process.

If so, there’s no need to worry — it’s still possible for you to make money with a side hustle.

Side hustles are more common than you think.

One study found that 28% of millennials in the United States have a gig on the side that allows them to earn extra cash.

Be sure to check out our dedicated Side Hustle section to learn more.

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