Plasma is the clear yellowish liquid part of your blood, and is different from red blood cells. Medical professionals can separate plasma from blood and use it to help people with certain medical conditions including clotting disorders, burns, and autoimmune disorders. For some of plasma’s uses, there is no synthetic replacement for the actual, real plasma that makes up about 55 percent of a person’s blood.
The practice of selling plasma seems like something most usually practiced by college students or maybe the temporarily unemployed, and these are some of the groups that you may see selling plasma on a regular basis. But anyone can sell plasma if they meet the health requirements and make up to $70 a week (sometimes more) just for basically sitting in a chair and getting stuck with a needle.
A lot of people aren’t willing to undergo the process of donating their plasma for free, so companies that use plasma are willing to pay people to give the plasma that they then use for those who need it. While it can be a hassle to sell your plasma, it can also be a way to make some extra money and help people at the same time.
If you have blood type AB, your plasma can be used universally, so it will be in special demand (and type AB blood is the rarest type, so finding it isn’t that common). If you have a special antibody called Anti-D in your plasma, you may even get paid more for your plasma in some centers because your blood can help babies in certain circumstances.
Is Selling Plasma Safe?
Medical professionals say it is safe to sell plasma up to twice a week with 48 hours in between times, as long as you meet the health requirements and the facility follows the usual safety requirements. Your body replaces the lost plasma quickly and not enough is taken out at one time to cause any adverse effects on your health.
In fact, studies have shown that people with high total cholesterol and high blood pressure can see improvement in those conditions after plasma is removed for selling or donating. For those without these conditions, there is no positive or negative effect to donating. A few people do experience dizziness or nausea during or after the plasma removal, but these effects are temporary and are usually avoided by those that pass the health screening.
Those who may be worried that repeated plasma donation may lead to the depletion of certain beneficial nutrients in the blood can be tested by the plasma center to be sure their blood is at safe levels to keep donating, but this is rarely a problem.
The Requirements for Selling Plasma
Not everyone is qualified to sell or donate their plasma. Donors must be at least 18 years old and weigh 110 pounds or more. Obviously, you can’t have any transmissible viruses or diseases like hepatitis or HIV, which they test you for in the screening process. You also won’t be allowed to donate if your iron level is too low or if you are sick, like with a cold or a fever.
It also helps if you are comfortable with the process of having your plasma removed, which does involve a needle being put into your body. If you are especially anxious about needles or have a strong aversion to them, then selling your plasma is probably not going to be a good option for you.
The Process of Selling Plasma
You need to go to a plasma center in order to donate your plasma, and you usually need an appointment when the removal will take place. Once you arrive and are medically screened, you will sit in a chair and the technician will insert the needle. Blood will be removed, the plasma will be separated and removed with a machine, and then the blood will be put back into your body.
The entire process of plasma removal takes about 90 minutes. The first visit may take up to 2 hours because of the initial paperwork. You can read, study, or do whatever you can do from the chair while the plasma is removed.
Children too young to wait alone in the waiting room (while you have your plasma removed) typically can’t be brought along to these appointments, so you may not be able to sell your plasma if you don’t have childcare available while you do so.
How Much Does Plasma Sell For?
Payment for plasma donations varies depending on location, sometimes frequency, and the amount of plasma they can take. The amount depends on your weight, so if you weigh more, they will be able to take more of your plasma and pay you more. The payment amount may be anywhere from $20 to $50 per session.
Many plasma centers offer a bonus for your first time donating if you have a special offer or get referred by someone to sell your plasma. Some centers also pay bonuses if you donate a certain number of times, so you get paid more if you donate more. Up to $300-400 a month is possible in some centers if you donate twice a week, which is the limit.
Preparing to Sell Your Plasma
Besides water, plasma contains proteins, so making sure you eat something with protein the night before or the day of the removal will keep your levels steady. Eating a healthy diet in general will help you maintain energy levels while donating and ensure that you don’t get run-down. Drinking extra water is recommended since you will be losing some water through the plasma removal.
Getting a good night’s sleep is recommended as well when you plan to have plasma removed. Being as healthy as possible will help you pass the medical screening and help your body recover from the plasma removal as well as possible.
Some experts say avoiding fatty foods will help you pass the screening tests better, but this will probably not be much of a factor unless the health aspects being tested are already borderline. If you often have low iron levels, eating foods high in iron like red meat, spinach, fish, poultry, beans, iron-fortified cereals, and raisins may help to raise iron levels.
Where to Sell Your Plasma
There are more than 600 plasma centers in the US, Canada, and Europe. Rural areas may not have many locations where you can sell plasma, but most cities of even moderate size have at least one plasma center. Here’s a list of five companies where you can sell your plasma, most of which have many locations in different states.
When You Might Not Want to Sell Your Plasma
There are some circumstances when you might not want to sell your plasma. If you are feeling sick or are the type of person that gets sick easily when you are run down, you may want to forego plasma selling (you definitely shouldn’t donate when you are sick).
Additionally, if your livelihood or your family depends on you being in tip-top physical condition, like being an athlete (or even parenting, sometimes), plasma-selling might make that a little harder. That being said, it may not have much of an impact depending on your overall physical health, strength, etc., so you may want to try it and see how you feel.
While there are better-paying ways to make extra cash, selling plasma can be a way to get the money needed to get through a desperate time, pay bills, or for other things. The bottom line is, plasma selling can help you to meet your financial and lifestyle goals even if it isn’t feasible to get another job or earn money in some other way.