You don’t make money donating blood. Honestly, you shouldn’t either. It’s a pretty quick procedure, the longest part is the questionnaire, and you’re helping folks out. You also get juice and cookies at the end. It’s just good karma.
You can, however, earn money donating blood plasma.
Blood plasma is the clear liquid part of the blood. It contains water, some enzymes, antibodies, and proteins. They use it to create products that can help folks with blood clotting disorders and other diseases. You get paid for donating plasma because it’s a far more involved process that takes about an hour and a half.
To get just the clear liquid part:
- Your blood is drawn,
- the plasma is separated,
- and the blood is returned to your body.
Here’s the big kicker — you’re not donating to the Red Cross anymore. You’re donating to a business. They will sell your plasma to companies that turn them into products. It’s only fair they compensate you for the time and your plasma, right?
As an aside, I’ve been asked whether I think donating plasma is ethical. Yes, it’s perfectly ethical. It’s your blood, your time, and you should do whatever you want with it. I’ve heard stories of people earning a nice supplemental income donating plasma and paying off their debts with it. I have no problem with it at all.
Who Is Eligible to Donate?
Generally speaking, you need to be 18-69 years old and over 110 pounds.
Local and state laws may override center requirements. For example, in Nebraska, you must be 19 years or older or produce written consent.
How Much Do You Get Paid?
The compensation varies based on you and how often you donate. A lot of plasma donation centers run promotions where you get paid more if you donate more often. For example, ADMA BioCenters in Atlanta has a coupon for an extra $5 on your first donation and pay more if you have a special antibody (Anti-D).
It feels a little weird, seeing coupons and promotions on a blood plasma donation site, but that’s how this world works. You’re not in the charitable arena of the Red Cross anymore, these are businesses and so are you.
You can expect to be paid anywhere from $20 to $50 per donation. The range in compensation is related to the volume of plasma you’re able to donate. The FDA sets the guidelines and the ranges are 110-149 pounds, 150-174 pounds, and 175-400 pounds. The more poundage, the more plasma, and the more cash you’re paid.
Most places will pay you via a debit card to make the payment process smoother.
How often can you donate? This will vary from place to place, the American Red Cross only lets you donate once every 28 days. Private centers will let you donate up to twice in 7 days with at least one day in between. That’s how they come up with figures like “make $300 a month” from donating plasma.
How to Find a Plasma Donation Center
The FDA inspects plasma donation centers for compliance with laws but doesn’t itself manage them. They’re run by companies so there’s no central clearinghouse, you need to just search for a local one, confirm it’s in compliance, and then see which one makes it worth your while.
Here are a few I found in a Google search:
Search for reviews of the centers and see what others are saying, then pick one that works for you.
What Should You Bring?
Proof of address, a valid photo ID and proof of your Social Security Number. Your name must exactly match on those documents. Proof of address can be what’s on your photo ID.
In preparing, make sure you eat regularly and drink plenty of fluids.
You Can Donate Plasma for Free
Does the idea of selling plasma for money irk you? Do stories of people selling plasma for money leave a bad taste in your mouth? No problem – you can donate it for free if you want.
The American Red Cross collects plasma too and will let you donate every 28 days. Just call 1-800-RED-CROSS to schedule an appointment.
Have you ever donated plasma?