First Time Plasma Donor

I am on a mission to pay down my mortgage.  I started re-following Dave Ramsey’s baby steps and am officially working on baby step 4 (investing 15% of household income) and 6 (pay house off early).  I started looking into ways to make extra money on the side to help me achieve this goal.  I have looked into surveys, focus groups, medical research studies, mystery shopping, selling my crap and finally plasma donation.  So this past weekend I finally took the plunge and decided to donate my plasma.  Each donation clinic compensates differently, my clinic’s rates are as follows:


Visit                                 Compensation
1-2                                             $50.00
3-5                                             $40.00
1st weekly donation           $25.00
2nd weekly donation         $40.00

The first 2 visits are important, if you do not go back for the second visit, your plasma cannot be used and will be discarded. This is why your compensation is high for those first visits.  I was also told I could only donate twice a week and never back to back.  With this being said, the most I would ever be able to donate would be once a week due to my work schedule.

Being a first time donor they will have you fill out paperwork, prick your finger to test for protein and glucose levels, take a physical, go through a series of questionnaires and finally you will be able to donate your plasma.  The entire process took about 4 hours but the actual plasma donation took about 40 minutes.  I essentially made $12.50/hour this time around.  You are paid in form of a prepaid debit card. There are fees associated with the card, however, you are allowed 1 free ATM withdrawal and 2 free credit card transactions per month.  To avoid the hassle, I just transferred the entire amount to my checking account for free.

As far as the actual donation process goes, the needle was uncomfortable but not painful.  The lady told me once she puts the needle in I am not to move my arm at all otherwise she would have to disinfect the entire area again and start over. I had to pump my arm the entire time blood was being sucked out of me.  When the blood was being returned then I could relax my arm.  If you go make sure you ask them how this works because they were not very clear when I asked the first time around.  I had to repeat myself 3 times to make sure I understood when I was supposed to pump my arm.  I did get a little tired a couple of hours afterwards but after a quick nap I was fine.

A few things:

  • Bring a sweater – it gets cold
  • Eat a full meal before you donate
  • Drink plenty of water the day before
  • No caffeine 2 hours before you donate (this was hard for me)
  • Bring a book or tablet to pass the time

Will I do it again? Yes, at least until visit 5.  Since I can only donate once a week I will only be getting the $25 compensation.  That’s free gas for the week but I’m not sure I want to go through all that for $25.

Needle hole

Needle hole

Plus if I start to see nasty scars on my arm then I will for sure stop.  I don’t want people thinking I’ve been injecting other things in there, know what I mean?

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