Donating Plasma

Okay as a broke college student I’m strongly considering donating plasma to a bioservices place as a supplement to my measly income.

I do have a few questions about this from anyone who knows/has participated…

#1 Why are they willing to pay for a part of my blood, when organizations like the red cross just take it for free?

#2 What do they do with the plasma they collect from me.

#3 Are the health standards that they use on the up and up. (I would assume so otherwise it would be difficult to remain in business, but you know what they say about assuming)

And also if anyone has additional information about the entire process, i would appreciate it.

#1. The plasma they collect isn’t going to be transfused directly to patients - it’s used to make other medical products (such as some of the testing reagents used in blood bank laboratories). So they don’t have to be quite as concerned about the possibility that an offer of payment will cause a donor to lie about his/her medical history (which is the reason that the Red Cross and other blood banks, which ARE collecting blood for transfusion, don’t pay the donors).

#2. See above.

#3. What health standards are you referring to? Any reputable plasma collection company is going to use exactly the same apheresis equipment that a blood bank uses, and the setup is sterile and single-use. The company should also have guidelines in place for evaluating prospective donors to insure that they’re healthy enough to donate safely. The whole setup really isn’t any different from a blood bank’s donor center.

how much do they pay, i’m curious…

Roughly 160-200 a month if you go 8 times a month.

And does the “calculus of logic” dictate that you can’t just say “$20-$25”?

Around here it’s $35 and a piece of cake that will knock your socks off.
But it’s been a long, long time since I’ve done it. Does it still hurt?
The last time I did it it hurt.


It’s just inserting a hollow nail in your arm.

Didn’t hurt at all.

For some reason every time I did it (the last being quite a few years ago) I got a bruise under the skin and it hurt for about 3 days or so. I’ve had others tell me that it happed to them also.

They have different pay scales jackass. Some pay $20 per visit, some pay on a stair step system based on how many consecutive times you go in a specific time period.

Jesus, they pay $35 a visit? can you go 2x a week? It averages out to about $22 a visit in most other places.

I know the pay must fluctuate. They had an ad in the paper here that stated they were paying $35 per visit, 280 per month. The last time I sold was in 1989. I got something like $17 at that time. But I’ve had people tell me they’re still giving out the monster piece of cake.

#1: The hospital I work for that handles mostly children with Leukemia uses a ton of plasma. In the most recent hospital flyer an article discussed plasma, they had this to say:

Blood lasts over a month in storage, but plasma has a very short shelf life (like 4 days). The hospital uses so much plasma (a ton more than normal hospitals) that they have to ship 90% of it in from outside sources, which costs a TON, even for a non-profit organization. They said that everytime an employee gives plasma it saves the hospital hundreds or even thousands of dollars. This is why plasma centers are willing to pay $30 for your donation.

Even with Red Cross’s help, the plasma supply in the U.S. is very low - like within days of running out IIRC.

#2: They might use your antibodies in immunocomprimised patients, since most children at my hospital are on radiation & chemotherapy.

#3: The process has always sounded sketchy to me - they take blood out of one arm, filter out the plasma, then return your blood back into your other arm. I just wish they’d take it out and keep it all! But since the process takes 2 hours to obtain enough plasma needed, they cannot do that. I’ll have to say though, I’ve never heard of any cases where someone has obtained diseases through this procedure.

So is each bag of plasma worth hundreds of dollars? I’m still shocked that it is $30 a payment now (thats 50% more than muncie paid). I need to check the plasma center in town.

Back in Muncie they had a pay scale

$15 for the first, & $25 if you came back & did another donation by the end of the week.

Then new management took over (i think bayer bought the company) then it was

$15 for the first, $20 for the second, $25 for the third & $30 for the fourth donation. The catch was you had to do all 4 donations within 2 weeks.

  1. Your plasma doesn’t go directly to humans, but is refined, antibodies obtained and processed. Non-profit organizations take the blood from you directly to the patient.

  2. Different things. Go to one of the pharmaceuticals’ website:
    Nabi and find out more.

  3. Yes, first time you go they do a complete physical examination, take blood samples, and ask you to fill out a questionnaire. Each time you return, they do simple blood tests (iron levels, some drug tests), take vital signs, weight you, and ask you a questionnaire again. For some conditions you are referred temporarily (4 days, a week, a few months, etc.), for others you are banned permanently. Oh, and every 3 months they take another blood sample to do another battery of tests. And each year you get another complete physical.

Payments vary. Around here, standard is $20 first time, $25 second time during that week (running Monday thru Saturday). People with excess Hep C antibodies (ie, vaccinated recently), get more money, as do some with others vaccines (like rabies, and special tetanus shots). I don’t know if bigger people (more than 150 pounds and fill the bottle with plasma) get paid more than smaller people (fill about 3/4 of the bottle, or 690mL).

For some people it hurts when they take blood from your finger to do the tests, for me that never hurts, but it can hurt when a new phlebotomist sticks my vein. After leaving the place and a couple hours later, I remove the bandage, apply some disinfectant, and bandage again overnight. I treat the site as any other wound, keeping it clean and away from harmful stuff.

Drink water and eat something before you give plasma. At the center I go to, they now give you IV after the donation is finished. And they do it all from the same vein, in cycles.

All this information is from my experience with a NABI plasma center.

Oh yea, the process can take 30 minutes to more than an hour, depending on how fast the machine pumps the blood, and how cooperative your veins are.

I can’t say about plasma used in biologics but plasma separated from donated units of blood with the intention of being transfused later is frozen and held around -70 degrees C. It has a shelf life of one year in the frozen state and 24 hours once thawed.

w00t! I’m going this weekend!

I work with kids with cancer and other blood and immune disorders. Yeah, the stuff they get from plasma is very very pricey.

I went to donate plasma once a year or so ago, and they said I couldn’t donate because i was on antidepressants. The reason was, that unlike donating blood which you can only do every couple of months or so, you can donate plasma a lot more often, and that would decrease the level of antidepressant in my blood.

Hey, this actually sounds like a halfway decent way of paying some poor college student bills. How does donating plasma effect you cognatively? Donating blood’ll knock me out. How does donating plasma effect you? how quickly is plasma replenished?

thats really recent. I read about some scientists at UCD developing the technique of cryogenically freezing plasma and keeping it for long periods of time.

I take that back. The article I was referring to referred to platelets.