Donating Plasma For Money (How Much You Can Get For Donating)

I’m happy to share with you a guest post provided by my friend Kim from A Suitcase Heart. She’s here to share with us her first-hand experience with donating plasma.

Donating blood plasma is a great way to earn extra cash to pay off debt, fund your dream vacation or build your emergency fund.

That being said, we’ve set ourselves up in this environment to want the best of the best as consumers, in possessions, housing, and travel. I’m guilty of that and I’m ok admitting it.

It’s not to say I’m not ashamed when I walk into my garage and lay eyes on the 7 bicycles my family of TWO own. Or the sheer number of coats or pairs of hiking boots between my husband and I are jammed into closets.

I AM ashamed. It’s disgusting.  I’m working on it. Our good friends recently taught us a great rule… one in, one out. We’ve been holding true to that.

So here I am, still wanting that new jacket, pair of boots…and exponentially more so… that vacation!

So how do I finance such desires when my paycheck is already accounted for with my mortgage, car payments, and life’s everyday costs?

Side Hustling to Cushion Your Income

Nothing crazy… just enough of a cushion so that in time, I can spend it and not feel guilty or ashamed!

Queue my friend and her wonderful idea. Let me back up… for she had this idea 7 years ago, long before I met her! And she’s been doing it ever since. With ease, without hesitation and with a sense of pride even.

A side hustle that makes you FEEL good about what you’re doing? Sign me up!

I started paying attention to what she was doing a few years back while sitting by watching my Dad go through multiple surgeries and treatments for colon cancer.  He was in and out of the hospital so many times and quite often he required blood transfusions.

I am ashamed to say… I hadn’t ever donated blood. Not once. And I WORK IN HEALTHCARE!

That is shameful in my mind. I see first hand how desperate the need is for this service.  I have no excuses as I am young and healthy with nothing limiting my ability to donate.

It’s not even that I am afraid of needles! It’s purely that I was lazy, uneducated about the process, and too “busy” to even look into it. I already worked 40 hrs a week and my paycheck was covering my essentials plus some extra for retirement and life’s “fluff”.

I didn’t even look into how easy it was… and more importantly,  how much of a difference I could be making in someone’s life as a result of donating.

Then something changed. My husband lost his job. We suddenly were a one income family.

You don’t know me… so I’ll just say, I am someone who likes her ducks in a row. I do well with a sense of security,  a plan… I know my comfort level and I knew instantly I was WAY outside of it. We had savings. Heck, we even had unemployment benefits for 6 months as a cushion.

That being said, there was nothing I could do about my husband’s situation,  but I sure could boost my end of our situation.

Referral Card From Biolife

I took one of my friend’s referral cards and booked an appointment at Biolife.

I’d love to be able to say the driving force for me was to help save someone’s life or improve the quality of it. I’d love to say it was purely an unselfish act and it was witnessing what patients at work or my very own Father went through that was the driving force to get me through those doors at the donation center.

It wasn’t.  Again… I’m ashamed. I want to be as unbiased and honest as I can here though. It was pure panic. It was my need to feel like I was doing absolutely everything I could to secure a cushion for us and to not have to give up our life as we knew it. We had some planned trips approaching and I knew we could use the spending money!

First Appt For Donating Blood Plasma

The first appointment is an intake appointment where they take your basic information such as:

  • Checking 2 forms of ID
  • Verify your home address
  • Check your vitals,
  • Fill out a fairly extensive questionnaire about health history basics, drug use, vaccinations, etc.
  • Then there’s a physical (fairly basic… clothes on, mostly question and answer sort of thing) with an RN.

Donating Blood Plasma for Money {What to Expect Your First donation}

The Education portion before donating plasma- What they teach you:

  • How to book appointments (very user-friendly app online),
  • How to sign in (fingerprint sign in),
  • Answer the brief 3-minute questionnaire at the computerized kiosks before lining up.
  • Wait in line to be called to the counter, then proceed with the routine screening before each donation.

During First Donation, You Can Expect:

  • Fingerprint sign in
  • Finger stick to test the blood for protein level and iron levels.
  • Check of the elbows inside and out (for signs of infections)
  • Blood pressure and temperature check, weight (this determines how big of a bag to set your donation up for).

This all takes about 5 minutes and if it all checks out, you’re good to go. Sometimes the finger stick hurts… a lot. Sometimes I don’t even feel it much. Depends on the tech!

Who Is Eligible to Donate Plasma?

Things that would potentially make you ineligible to donate would be certain health history complications or details

(disease, prior cancer history, new piercings or tattoos as there is a 4-12 month waiting period depending upon certain details, incarceration history, sexual history, etc).

Regardless the blood is screened extensively every single time. From the time the donation takes place to the time the plasma is used is 12 months, with extensive testing done along the way.

What Happens During the Blood Plasma Donation Exam?

The staff is good to ensure your comfort.  I’m getting to know them and they seem to score high on customer service,  knowing it’s not fun for anyone to be there…and if they’re nice and good at their jobs… you’re more likely to keep coming back.

They set you up in a lounge type chair, methodically find your vein, mark your skin, clean your arm with betadine and place the needle. It’s not exactly a small needle. If I had to guess… about 15 gauge.

They’re good at IVs though. It’s all they do so, of course, they’re good!

How Long Does The Plasma Donation Process Take?

You can expect to be there for about an hour. It’s a really simple process of pumping your hand to enforce blood flow and watching Netflix or listening to a book or podcast.

The donation process removes blood, separates out the plasma, returns your blood… over and over for an hour (that’s the average donation time. On days when I’m super hydrated, it takes about 40 minutes.  I’ve had donations take 90 minutes when I’ve slacked at drinking water that day).

There’s a bag of saline that they administer at the end to rehydrate you which takes about 5 minutes.  They remove the IV and put a cotton swabs and coban wrap around your elbow. You’re free to go!

Blood Plasma Donation Process: Downsides And Answering The Question “Does It Hurt?”

The downsides… yes, there are some.

Hematomas-  I’ve had two hematomas. That is where, upon “returning ” my blood to me, the needle was either hot properly IN my vein or it slipped out and the returning blood began pooling in my arm but not into my vein. It was not fun. AT ALL.

The second one I got was minor because I knew what to watch for and watched like a hawk on my first “return”, noticing immediately when it started to happen.

I called for a tech and they stopped it. Both times I switched arms and carried on… a little ( a LOT if I’m being completely honest) nervous but not wanting to give up. Oh, that’s another thing about me… I’m stubborn as hell.

Fatigue- aside from possible fatigue… there’s no other downside.

Benefits To Donating Plasma

  • Getting your blood tested- I get my blood tested once a week (protein/ iron/diseases),
  • hydration- it encourages me to suck down the water and stay incredibly hydrated,
  • Helping people- Above all, I AM helping people.

How Much Do You Get Paid to Donate Plasma?

I’m making 90 bucks a week. Lately more ($100) due to bonuses they throw your way for things like birthdays and other specials they run.

There are referral bonuses too so every one person you refer to donate plasma for money, you can get up to a hundred bucks! A little pyramid scheme-y… yup. It’s a business… welcome to America.

It may seem small at first. It may BE small to some of you. For me though… it’s a side hustle that is convenient (appointments anytime from 6 am to 7 pm), fairly easy, and helpful to people who desperately need treatment. I am finally doing MY part… and being compensated FOR it. If there’s ever been a win/win in my life… this is it.

This is my first year donating,  so I am uncertain if they will issue an actual 1099 come tax time next year. I have looked into it and it IS something you are supposed to report as income.  

They take your social security number at your very first appointment and although they never issue you a check, instead deposit your money directly onto a debit card… they HAVE your SSN… so I’m betting Uncle Sam wants a portion of my easily-earned money!

Had I Started Donating Plasma A Year Ago….

Looking back, I wish I would’ve been genuine in telling my friend I would go donate with her.

Remember, she’s been going for 7 years. 7 years at $90 a week... no need to open your calculator app… let me help you.

That’s $32,760. Not all centers pay $90/week. Some are $50, $60, $70. Typically though, they pay $20 for your first weekly donation and $50 for the 2nd.


You work your way up after twice a week for a month to reach $90. This is called Platinum status. Once you reach Platinum status, as long as you donate once a week you hold that status, enabling you to make $90 a week should you go twice in a 7 day period.

You May Be Wondering “How Do I Get Paid For Donating my Plasma?””

Selling plasma earns a debit card loaded with payments upon successful donation.

How Often Can You Donate Plasma?

Now that you know you can make up to $90 per week, you’re probably wondering how often can you donate plasma?

You can ONLY go twice in a 7 day period and must have at least 1 day between donations.

How to Find a Plasma Donation Center Near Me

DonatingPlasma is an educational website sponsored by the Plasma Proteins Therapeutic Association.

You can search for more than 600 licensed and certified collection centers in the United States and Europe.

For more information on Plasma donation at Biolife,  check out their Q&A section on the website or click here.

Final Thoughts About Donating Plasma

The takeaway… this is one way to make extra cash, literally with your feet up! The only multitasking you’ll have to do is pump your hand to encourage blood flow,  and choose what show to watch or what to listen to on your personal device. They offer free wifi so bring your phone or tablet and settle in.

make up to $400 a month by donating your blood plasma. Learn how private blood plasma centers will pay for your time
make up to $400 a month by donating your blood plasma. Learn how private blood plasma centers will pay for your time
make up to $400 a month by donating your blood plasma. Learn how private blood plasma centers will pay for your time
make up to $400 a month by donating your blood plasma. Learn how private blood plasma centers will pay for your time
make up to $400 a month by donating your blood plasma. Learn how private blood plasma centers will pay for your time
make up to $400 a month by donating your blood plasma. Learn how private blood plasma centers will pay for your time
make up to $400 a month by donating your blood plasma. Learn how private blood plasma centers will pay for your time

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