How Much Do You Make Donating Plasma?

Professional medical office blood drawing through a thin needle, preparing for platelet rich plasma treatment.
vitapix / Getty Images

Selling plasma is becoming a common way to get a bit of extra cash on the side ahead of the holidays — although the human body does have its limits, and it isn’t sustainable enough to become a full-blown side gig. However, as this procedure becomes more and more mainstream, people are donating plasma across the country to acquire extra pocket change while providing much-needed medical donations

Depending on qualifications and health, plasma donors can make between $360 and $1,000 monthly for donations. The specific amount of money you can make as a client depends on how often you’re able to donate.

Selling plasma is safe and legal and will not cause adverse health effects as long as you follow a schedule that allows you to refresh your supplies before donating again. Here’s how to get started.

What Is Plasma?

Blood has several components, and plasma is one of them. The major solid components of your blood include red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. Plasma is the fourth part, and it allows the solid components to move through the arteries and veins throughout your body.

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Essentially, plasma is the liquid part of the blood. It makes up about 55% of the body’s blood content. Plasma not only carries blood cells and platelets throughout the circulatory system but also transports nutrients, hormones and proteins to where they’re needed in the body and removes waste products from the cells.

So, how are people able to donate their plasma twice a week without strong risks of adverse effects? During plasma donation, the blood components — solids and liquids — are separated in a centrifuge. The heavier solids, mainly red blood cells, are separated from the lighter plasma and settle at the bottom of the machine. The donor’s red blood cells are then sent back into their bloodstream from the machine, and the plasma center keeps the plasma for use in medical facilities. 

How Much Do You Make Selling Plasma?

Some plasma donation centers are known for paying top dollar for a plasma donation. The average payment for a single donation is between $30 and $60 per session, although there are centers that will do $100 per donation. Some centers also offer graded payments, meaning they’ll pay more for your second visit in a week or sixth in a month than for your first, which helps to incentivize repeat donations.

It ultimately depends on the state and city the plasma center is located in, but diligent and qualified plasma donors can make anywhere from an extra $360 per month to about $1,000 per month.

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What To Expect When Donating Plasma

Different donation facilities have different criteria for donor eligibility. A donor could show up to a facility and give plasma that same day if they’re already registered and eligible in a compatible system. At another facility, a donor may need to wait a few months to complete a thorough health screening before they can begin to donate and receive payment for their plasma — this is usually the case if you’ve never donated plasma before. 

These rules are completely dependent on the plasma center a donor chooses, which means that donors who need fast payments may want to familiarize themselves with a few local donation options before choosing where to go.

At each and every plasma donation center, donors must provide identification and fill out an extensive questionnaire. This is similar to the blood donation process. However, before a donor can register as an eligible plasma donor, the center must screen and test the donor’s plasma. Once the donor passes all examinations and health screenings, they can register as a qualified donor and receive payment for their plasma donations.

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When a donor’s blood is drawn, it’s fed into a centrifuge that separates the plasma from the red blood cells. The donor’s red blood cells are then fed back into their bloodstream. This process can take up to one to two hours. The longest part of the plasma donation is the component separation process. 

Some donors have reported feeling queasy or lightheaded after the process, but plasma donation centers are very efficient and have medical staff on hand to deal with any side effects patients encounter during and after the donation

Donors have also mentioned that when the red blood cells are reintroduced into their system, there is a sensation of coolness in their veins that can be quite odd. This is because the red blood cells have had a chance to cool from normal body temperature and are therefore cooler than the rest of the body when returning to the bloodstream.

Is Donating Plasma a Good Way To Make Money? 

Donating plasma is not a profession. In the United States, the money one person can make selling plasma is nowhere near a living wage. But donors can use plasma donation as a side gig — an easy one at that, with no special education or experience required. 

Providing plasma to those in need can be a great way to add entertainment money to the budget, save up for a holiday or even save for a down payment on a car or new phone. However, selling plasma alone cannot sustain an individual and their living costs, and potential plasma donors should not head into the process with the assumption that they will be able to earn significantly.

Final Thoughts

Those interested in donating plasma should search for reputable donation centers in their area and see what the reviews say about them. Were the previous donors comfortable? What compensation do they offer? How were the interactions with staff? Did medical professionals attend to the concerns of each customer? Were the facilities professional and hygienic? These are things to keep in mind when searching for a suitable plasma donation facility.

Donating plasma can be an excellent way to earn a bit of extra money to supplement a main income source, as long as you don’t mind the cool sensation of red blood cells reentering your bloodstream or the potential queasiness that may follow. As is the case with any medical procedure, potential donors should do their research when deciding which facilities to use and limit donations to only approved businesses with licensure and medical staff standing by. 

FAQ

  • Should plasma donations be reported to the IRS?
    • Technically, because plasma donors receive payment for their donations, the IRS views plasma donation money as taxable income. According to the law, plasma donors must report their plasma donations to the IRS even if they do not receive a 1099-Miscellaneous form during the process. It's up to the donor to keep accurate donation records and submit them to the government.
  • How often can you give plasma?
    • It's safe to donate plasma twice a week, which adds up to about eight or nine times per month. The FDA states that there must be at least 48 hours between plasma donations.
  • What plasma center pays the most?
    • BioLife Plasma Services is ranked among the plasma centers that pay the most for plasma, as is Octapharma Plasma. Through these plasma companies, donors can earn up to $1,000 each month for regular donations.

Karen Doyle contributed to the reporting for this article.

Information is accurate as of Dec. 8, 2022. 

Our in-house research team and on-site financial experts work together to create content that’s accurate, impartial, and up to date. We fact-check every single statistic, quote and fact using trusted primary resources to make sure the information we provide is correct. You can learn more about GOBankingRates’ processes and standards in our editorial policy.

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Sarah Horvath is a skilled copywriter with more than seven years of experience in B2B and B2C copy. She specializes in financial and investment writing, though she also has experience with fashion and home maintenance.
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