selling plasma

Back in my college days, my roomate and I would occasionally go down to a blood bank where we could sell plasma. They took blood from us, which they apparently would run through a centrifuge to separate the plasma. The remaining blood was, for a lack of a better term, poured back into us. :slight_smile: For this process, we were paid $19, which seemed like an awful lot of money at the time (mid-1980s).

I’m still as ignorant about human physiology now as I was then, so I pose this question: what are the effects of this process on the donor? Long-term, I presume that the body’s regnerative process takes care of everything. What were the downsides in the short-term?

For what it’s worth, my buddy and I were the only young ones there. Everybody else seemed to be homeless folks who took their money right next store to the liquor store.

Back in my college days, I worked as a phlebotomist/medical assistant at a plasma center. Generally, the only long term effect of plasma donation results from damage to the vein used. This is why it’s advised that you switch from arm to arm. Of course, it usually takes quite a while before a vein wears out, but it does happen on occasion. The needles used are much larger than the ones which would be used in a typical iv situation.

The major short term effect is dehydration. Plasma is composed primarily of water, so it’s a good idea to replace that after donating. No cite, but the degree of dehydration is supposed to be comparable to that of someone who’s just had a strenuous workout.

Other short term effects include a loss of antibodies, loss of proteins, and the development of a hematoma around the site. The antibodies and proteins will be replaced within 24-48 hours, and the hematoma should resolve itself in a few days as well.

We had quite a few younger donors, and everyone who donated had to have proof of a permanent address. I really liked most of the people who came in. There were the occasional few creeps that you’ll find in any crowd, but by and large, everyone was really nice there.

Short term: You can faint because of low blood sugar. You’ll be dizzy and/or thirsty.

Here is a list of FAQ answered by one of the biopharmaceuticals that use human plasma.

anson2995, I “donated” my plasma twice a week for quite a while when I was fresh out of school and underemployed in the early Reagan era. We got $7 per visit if we “donated” once a week, and $10 per visit if we “donated” twice a week.

My left arm was for Tuesday, and my right arm was for Thursday. I used to race my friends… my best time (from needle-in to needle-out) was just under 30 minutes.

If you didn’t have a checking account, there were two nearby merchants that would cash your check if you made a $2 purchase. One was the pizza-by-the-slice and beer joint next door, and the other was the Rite-Aid two blocks away. Most folks (young and old alike) bought a quart of Old Milwaukee next door, but I had quit drinking, so, I always bought cookies and milk at the Rite Aid.

I’d guess that aside from the needle scars I still bear, the other long-term side effects would be bad teeth (from the cookies), and an enduring respect for the skill of the phlebotomists at the plasma “donor” center. Medical personnel at other institutions just pale by comparison when it comes to finding that vein and “sticking” you efficiently and painlessly…!

About 2 months after I found full-time employment and quit selling my plasma, I got a letter from the plasma “donor” center, lamenting how they hadn’t seen me in a while… it felt like getting an “I miss you!” letter from Dracula!