Selling plasma has become a more common way to make extra money if you’re in a bind. But before you sign up to donate, you need to know how much you make donating plasma, about the requirements to donate plasma, and what the process involves.
The short of it is that healthy individuals can make a couple hundred dollars a month donating, and there are very low risks to selling plasma. It’s not the most lucrative side hustle, but if you’re interested, keep reading to learn more about donating plasma.
What is Plasma? And Why Do People Need It?
Plasma is the liquid part of blood and is packed full of proteins that are essential in a healthy and normal functioning body. It makes up about 55% of your blood’s total volume and is required for healing, distributing nutrients, removing waste products from your cells, and preventing infection.
In short, the human body cannot function without plasma, and it’s not something that can be replicated in a lab.
Because plasma serves many vital functions, some people need donated plasma if they’ve experienced severe trauma, burn or shock, or those who have severe liver disease or have clotting issues.
And the most in-demand plasma comes from those with type AB blood, according to the Red Cross. Those with type AB blood have universal plasma, meaning it can be given to anyone in need of a plasma donation.
Because plasma can save lives, some plasma donation centers pay good money if you’re willing to donate.
How Much Do You Get for Donating Plasma?
The average payment for a single plasma donation ranges from $30 to $60 per session. However, there are some centers that are willing to pay upwards of $100 per donation. How much you make selling plasma ultimately depends on where you live and which donation centers you visit.
The most well-known plasma donation centers are:
Donation centers often pay you with a prepaid debit card, not cash, check, or PayPal. Because some centers allow you to donate twice a week, occasionally people will make upwards of $800 a month selling plasma.
What Does Plasma Donation Involve?
There are several steps involved in donating plasma, and it can take up to two hours the first time you do it:
- Step 1: Arrive at the plasma donation center and check in. You’re required to bring a valid photo ID, and some centers need proof of address and Social Security. You should check with the center in advance.
- Step 2: Go through a quick health screening to make sure you’re healthy enough to donate plasma. This includes checking your blood with a sample blood draw and checking vital signs, including blood pressure, pulse, and temperature.
- Step 3: There’s a short and confidential physical exam to confirm you are in good health.
- Step 4: You’re then set up at a plasmapheresis machine that collects the whole blood from your arm, separates out the plasma, and returns the remaining blood components to your body. You are typically given saline via IV during the process to help maintain circulation. This part of the process takes about an hour.
- Step 5: As a safety precaution, you are expected to stay at the plasma donation center for 10 to 15 minutes after you’ve given plasma to make sure you’ve rehydrated and are feeling well.
How Often Can You Donate Plasma?
A healthy individual can donate up to two times per week because plasma regenerates quickly. You still have to hydrate well to sell your plasma that many times a week.
If you’re selling plasma in the U.S., your plasma can’t be used until you’ve given twice, and that’s because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires two separate tests on a person’s plasma to make sure it’s safe to share. The donation center will ask you to reschedule your second visit within six months of your first donation.
How Long Does It Take to Donate Plasma?
It takes anywhere from 1.5-2 hours to donate plasma, which includes checking in at the donation center to leaving. The process takes that much time because it involves a short health screening and physical exam, and the actual donation time runs about an hour. Your visit also involves a mandatory recovery period.
If you’ve ever donated blood before, you know that some people donate much faster than others, and it’s the same with plasma.
Are There Risks to Donating Plasma?
The vast majority of people won’t have any negative side effects when selling their plasma. It’s a safe procedure, and the most common issues are feeling faint or dizzy, bleeding, bruising, or inflammation around the donation site. In very rare instances, an embolism can occur.
Everyone who goes in to donate or sell plasma goes through a screening process to ensure that they’re healthy enough for the donation.
Is Selling Plasma Painful?
Selling plasma isn’t much more painful than donating blood. It mostly feels like a sting, but the needle used to collect your blood for plasma donation is slightly larger than the needle used for blood donation, so it can hurt a little more.
What Are the Requirements for Selling Plasma?
Before you attempt to make money selling plasma, there are some important requirements you must meet. These requirements are designed to make sure you’re healthy enough to donate.
Here are the standard eligibility requirements for donating plasma in the U.S.:
- At least 18 years old
- Minimum 110 lb.
- Proof of residency (Social Security number and proof of local address)
- Medical examination
- Negative for hepatitis, HIV, and Parvo B19
- No tattoos or piercings in the past four months
Even if you meet those requirements, there are some reasons you might not be eligible to donate. The most common reason is if your blood pressure, pulse, temperature, hematocrit (percentage of red blood cells in your total blood volume), or total protein are outside of the normal range. When you go to donate plasma, they do a quick physical and finger prick to test for those things.
If you’ve recently had surgery or been pregnant may also temporarily disqualify you.
Final Word: Is Donating Plasma a Good Way to Make Money?
Because there’s such a high need for plasma, many donation centers are paying higher than normal (up to $100 per donation in most areas). Some centers offer incentives to first-time donors of $500+ for donating in the first month. So if you’re a healthy individual who is looking for an easy way to make money, plasma donation could be a solid option.
The downside to donating plasma is that there is a limit to the amount of money you can earn, and you may find yourself temporarily disqualified.
If you’re looking for better-paying side hustles, check out:
- Food Delivery: Food delivery drivers make upwards of $25 an hour and work when they want.
- Freelancing: From bookkeeping, proofreading, and web development, freelancers contract out their services to a variety of clients, build their own schedule, and part-time freelancers can make $1,000 to $5,000+ each month.
Some prescription medications temporarily disqualify you from selling plasma, and some can even permanently disqualify you.
As long as you’re a healthy individual, you can donate plasma up to twice a week.