How to Make Money Donating Plasma

Have you ever considered donating plasma to rake in some extra dough? While there are some health implications you have to keep in mind, it may not be such a bad idea. In fact, the procedure doesn’t take much time, and you can collect your cash right away.

woman donating

The Red Cross states that 10,000 units of plasma are needed every day in the US. So there is a significant need for donations. What better way to make money than to help save lives?

So, how can you donate plasma for money? This in-depth guide will answer this question and much more.

How much money can you make donating plasma?

You can make from $20 to $50 per visit, but it depends on several variables. These include:

  • How often you donate. Most centers allow you to donate two times per week, with a one-day waiting period between visits.
  • How much you’re able to donate, which is determined by your weight.
  • Duration of the visit. First-time plasma donors are generally compensated at a higher rate because the initial visit lasts longer than subsequent visits.

Keep in mind that you’ll usually make more money on your first visit as most plasma donation centers offer incentives to attract new plasma donors. Also, inquire about special promotions, like monthly and frequent donor bonuses.

Payment Methods

You will be compensated after your visit. Payment methods vary by center, but most use a prepaid debit card to compensate plasma donors. (Keep in mind that a surcharge may apply for each transaction).

You may also be paid through their in-house rewards program in which you redeem your points for cash, merchandise, or other prizes.

Benefits of Donating Plasma for Money

When you donate plasma, the benefits are twofold. You will earn money to beef up your pockets. Plus, you’ll play an integral role in helping save someone’s life. So, this could mean that you’ll be able to pay your rent on time, feed your little ones, or pay down that credit card. And you’ll also help a patient dealing with a health crisis. That’s not a bad trade-off.

How so? According to Healthline, blood plasma is used in various treatments, including those that relate to respiratory disorders, the immune system, bleeding, wound healing, and blood transfusions. Your donation could also save someone’s life if they’re battling cancer or a traumatic injury, MedicalNewsToday adds.

Where to Donate Plasma

ADMA BioCenters

  • Locations: Georgia
  • Frequency of donations allowed: up to two per week if you meet the eligibility criteria
  • Compensation: up to $400 per month (could be higher if participating in a specialty program)
  • Payment methods: Cash Card
  • Plasma donor incentives: $50 per donation (up to five) for new donors, $10 bonus coupon available online for second-time donors

Biolife Plasma Services

  • Locations: Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming
  • Frequency of donations allowed: up to two per week with at least 24 hours between donations
  • Compensation: up to $70 per week
  • Payment methods: BioLife Debit Card
  • Plasma donor incentives: enter a contest to win money when you schedule your appointment using the mobile app

Biotest Plasma Center

  • Locations: Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas
  • Frequency of donations allowed: two times per week with 1 day between donations
  • Compensation: up to $50 per donation
  • Payment methods: Biotest re-loadable MasterCard
  • Plasma donor incentives: monthly promotions and referral bonuses

B Positive

  • Locations: Maryland, New Jersey
  • Frequency of donations allowed: up to two times in 7 days, with 24 hours between each donation
  • Compensation: up to $50 per week
  • Payment methods: B Positive Visa card
  • Plasma donor incentives: refer-a-friend program ($20 bonus)

BPL Plasma Donation Center

  • Locations: Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas
  • Frequency of donations allowed: twice a week
  • Compensation: up to $300 per month (or more when donating to specialty programs)
  • Payment methods: Prepaid Card
  • Plasma donor incentives: monthly bonuses, referral fees

CSL Plasma Donation Center

  • Locations: Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin
  • Frequency of donations allowed:
  • Compensation: up to $400 per month
  • Payment methods: CSL Plasma Reloadable Debit Card, iGive Rewards Program
  • Plasma donor incentives: lucrative rewards program, new donor bonuses

GCAM Plasma

  • Locations: California, Idaho, Indianapolis, Texas, Washington
  • Frequency of donations allowed: two times per week
  • Compensation: $25 to $30 per donation (24 to 48 hour waiting period between donations)
  • Payment methods: Prepaid debit card

GRIFOLS

  • Locations: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin
  • Frequency of donations allowed: two times per week (with a 48-hour waiting period between donations)
  • Compensation: rates vary by location
  • Payment methods: Prepaid debit card
  • Plasma donor incentives: Buddy Bonus (referral) Program

Interstate Companies

  • Locations: Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Wisconsin
  • Frequency of donations allowed: twice a week (48 hours between donations)
  • Compensation: varies by location
  • Payment methods: Prepaid debit card

KEDPlasma

  • Locations: Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Nebraska, Ohio, South Carolina, Texas
  • Frequency of donations allowed: up to two times per week with 24 hours between donations
  • Compensation: up to $400 per donation (bonuses available if you qualify for participation in the Anti-D Program)
  • Payment methods: Wirecard Prepaid Card

Octapharma Plasma

  • Locations: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin
  • Frequency of donations allowed: two donations in a 7-day window (with a 48 hour break between donations)
  • Compensation: up to $50 per donation
  • Payment methods: Octapharma Plasma prepaid debit card
  • Plasma donor incentives: $250 bonus for new donors (for the first five donations), monthly donor promotions, frequency bonuses (up to $60-$75 in additional compensation per week), OPI Rewards+ customer loyalty program

Biological Specialty Company (BSC)

  • Location: Tennessee
  • Frequency of donations allowed: up to two times per week with 24 hours between donations
  • Compensation: $150 to $300 per donation (up to $500 for special antibodies)
  • Payment methods: Prepaid debit card
  • Plasma donor incentives: referral bonuses

How to Find Reputable Plasma Donation Centers

When considering plasma donation centers, confirm they are licensed by the International Quality Plasma Program (IQPP). It’s also a good idea to read reviews from donors regarding their experience to get an idea of if the center you’re considering is the best option. Common negative trends, like unprofessional staff, excessive wait times, and cleanliness could be an indicator that you’d be better off going elsewhere.

If you’re struggling to find a plasma donation center, use this tool to find a location near you.

How long does it take to donate plasma?

Generally, you can expect to spend anywhere between one to two hours at the plasma donation center. During this time, your medical history will be reviewed.

The technician or phlebotomist will also conduct a basic exam to ensure you are healthy enough to give a donation. In the event the center is crowded with plasma donors that haven’t yet been seen or it’s your first rodeo and you have paperwork to complete, chances are you’ll be there much longer.

The Plasma Donation Process

The donation process is comprised of three parts and is relatively straightforward. Once you’ve been cleared to get started, you will sit down in a reclining chair and the nurse will get started. Next, they will:

  • Disinfect your arm and draw blood
  • Separate the plasma from the blood (this is done using an FDA approved machine)
  • Inject the red blood cells back into your body (also known as plasmapheresis)

And that just about does it.

Is it safe to donate plasma?

As long as you meet the criteria set forth by the plasma donation center, you should be good to go. For the most part, it is safe, notes Healthline. But don’t be surprised if you experience some discomfort during and immediately following the process.

Side Effects

Minor side effects, like bruising, dizziness, fainting, fatigue, and lightheadedness may also result from donating plasma.

In rare cases, you should be mindful of the more serious side effects that could result from donating plasma. These include:

  • An allergic reaction from the solution used to disinfect the arm before the procedure
  • An arterial puncture due to a missed vein
  • An infection from the needle
  • Injury to the nerve from the needle when inserted into or withdrawn from the vein
  • Numbness, tingling and pulse fluctuations resulting from a citrate reaction

Are you healthy enough to donate plasma?

Ready to start donating plasma in exchange for cash? Before moving forward, you’ll need to meet a few criteria:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Be able to provide proof of identity
  • Weigh at least 110 pounds (50 kilograms)
  • Test negative for HIV, syphilis, and hepatitis
  • Pass a medical history screening and examination

While these are some general criteria to keep in mind, the plasma may have additional criteria that you must meet to be eligible for donation.

How to Prepare for Your Visit

Prior to your visit to the plasma donation center, you’ll want to contact the center to confirm you have all the documentation they need. This usually includes a copy of your driver’s license or government-issued ID, proof of social security number, and proof of address, to move forward. Otherwise, you may not be able to donate on the day of your appointment.

Before the Visit

You should also take the following actions to minimize the onset of side effects during and following the donation:

  • Drink lots of water leading up to the visit. Aim for at least 16 ounces prior to your appointment. Plasma is composed of 92 percent water, notes the American Red Cross, so you’ll want to hydrate to stock up those reserves.
  • Eat a snack to avoid donating on an empty stomach. Otherwise, you will more than likely experience nausea, dizziness, lightheadedness, and possibly vomiting.

After the Visit

First and foremost, you want to relax until those depleted water reserves are replenished. Your body will do this naturally on its own, but it’s important to rest and give it time to avoid adverse reactions. You also want to drink something (preferably clear liquids) immediately following the donation to speed up the rehydration process.

Bottom Line

Whether you need a little extra money for a bill, rent, to pay down a credit card, or are just looking to beef up your emergency fund, donating plasma can help you get money in your pocket in a jiffy.

Before donating, do your homework to confirm the plasma donation center is a good fit. Most importantly, be sure to prepare your body beforehand to minimize the possibility of enduring unpleasant side effects.

Allison Martin
Meet the author

Allison Martin is a syndicated financial writer, author, and Certified Financial Education Instructor (CFEI). She has written about personal finance for almost ten years and holds a master's degree in Accounting from the University of South Florida.