Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.
Updated on Tuesday, January 5, 2021
Plasma — a portion of your blood that is used to fight diseases — can be sold for a profit, and it can be an easy way to make some quick money while also helping people in need. The amount you will make for selling plasma varies depending on a number of factors, but plasma donation centers generally offer between $30 and $60 per donation session.
Still, selling your plasma comes with drawbacks. Here’s everything you need to know about this potential side hustle.
- What to expect when selling plasma
- How much can you make selling plasma?
- The challenges of selling plasma
- How to find a plasma donation center
- Helpful tips to prepare for selling plasma
- Selling plasma FAQ
What to expect when selling plasma
Donating blood and donating plasma are not the same thing. If you’re ready to sell plasma, be prepared for a unique experience.
“The process of selling plasma is different than when you donate blood,” said Dr. Ross Herron, divisional chief medical officer of the American Red Cross. “During a plasma-only donation, blood is drawn from one arm and sent through a high-tech machine that collects your plasma and then safely and comfortably returns your red cells and platelets back to you, along with some saline.”
The entire process of donating or selling your plasma will take a little over an hour, according to Herron. You’ll need to bring several documents with you to prove your identity including:
- Your driver’s license or ID card
- Proof of residency (such as a utility bill)
- Your Social Security card
After the donation is complete, you may experience side effects including:
- Soreness at the needle entrypoint
- Tingling sensations in your arms and legs
Dr. Janet Hershman, head of medical affairs for BioLife, a plasma collection center operated by Takeda Pharmaceutical Company, said the positives outweigh the negatives, though.
“One common misconception about donating plasma is that it’s not safe,” said Hershman. “The actual process of donating plasma is a low-risk procedure that usually has minimal or no side effects, and it provides an increasingly needed scarce resource so that people with chronic and rare diseases can benefit from life-saving, plasma-derived therapies.”
How much can you make selling plasma?
How much you can earn from selling your plasma depends on how often you donate. The American Red Cross limits your donations to once every 28 days, but many private centers allow you to donate twice per week, with at least 48 hours between donations.
The amount you’re paid per donation depends on several factors, including how long the donation takes and your weight (the more you weigh the more plasma you can donate). Generally, you’ll see centers offering between $30 and $60 per session. Most private centers deposit your payments on a prepaid debit card that can be used just like your other payment cards.
The challenges of selling plasma
In order to donate your plasma, you must first meet a set of criteria:
- Be at least 18 years old
- Weigh 110 pounds or more
- Be in good health overall
- Undergo a physical exam by a medical professional prior to the donation and receive a blood test
The day of the donation, if you are feeling unwell, you should reschedule your appointment. Your eligibility might be impacted by personal health issues. If you have a history of HIV or other infectious diseases, you will not be able to sell your plasma.
If you have type AB blood, you’re in luck. “Those with type AB blood are especially encouraged to donate plasma,” said Herron. “Type AB is the universal plasma type and can be transfused to patients of any blood type in an emergency.”
How to find a plasma donation center
If you’re ready to sell your plasma, you first need to locate a reputable company. There are an array of plasma donation centers across the U.S., which are run by private companies but strictly regulated by government authorities. Octapharma Plasma, for example, operates 80 donation centers across the nation, while Grifols runs donation centers under a variety of names in more than 100 countries.
You can use the search tool on DonatingPlasma.org to locate an International Quality Plasma Program (IQPP) certified donation center near you. An IQPP certification means the company adheres to a set of standards created by the Plasma Protein Therapeutics Association, an organization dedicated to maintaining high-quality plasma donation centers.
You also can find donation centers near you through the following directories:
Helpful tips to prepare for selling plasma
Prior to your donation, you’ll want to prepare yourself for the experience. The Red Cross has several suggestions:
- Eat foods rich in iron, like red meat, spinach and beans
- Get a good night of sleep
- Drink plenty of clear, nonalcoholic fluids and be well hydrated
- Wear comfortable clothing, including a shirt that will allow staffers easy access to your arm
- Bring a book or download some podcasts to enjoy during the process
Selling plasma FAQ
Adults in generally good health are eligible to donate or sell plasma. You must be at least 18 years old and weigh 110 pounds or more.
The entire plasma donation process will last a couple of hours. Typically, your first donation will take the longest because you must undergo the medical screening.
Common side effects to selling plasma include dizziness or lightheadedness. Some donors experience slight pain at the needle entrypoint.
The Red Cross limits your plasma donations to once every 28 days, while private centers allow you to donate twice per week, though you must wait at least 48 hours between donations.
In addition to selling your plasma, other ways you can make money through medical donations can include donating your eggs or your sperm, or participating in health case studies.