As I shared last month, I planned on starting to donate plasma to help supplement my other incomes. In July, I unfortunately had a mysterious allergic reaction and was on prednisone for three weeks, which was both a horrible personal experience and also disqualified me from donating plasma. I finished my course of prednisone in late July, and after the waiting period ended, I headed to my local plasma donation center and made my first donation on August 1st! At this point, I’ve completed 4 donations, so let’s talk about it!
The First Donation
The first donation takes the longest, by far. My local center closes at 4 pm on weekends, so I headed in at 11 am to make sure I would be able to get everything done before they closed! When I went in, I just scanned my forehead to get my temperature and headed up to the front desk and explained to them that I had previously attempted to donate but had been turned away due to the medication I was on. It took about 45 minutes for them to lift the hold on my name, but once they did, I was ready to start the process!
The first thing they had me do was fill out some paperwork and watch some introductory videos. I had to go over my address history, answer some basic health questions, and provide them with information about all my tattoos and piercings. Once that was finished, one of the phlebotomists came and checked my veins to make sure they had some good options for when I made it to the back. After I finished the initial screening, I had to go to the checkin kiosk, where I answered 100 questions about my health and the risks of the procedure. After I finished all of those questions, I was called back to another booth, where they tested my hemoglobin and blood protein levels, measured my blood pressure, pulse, and temperature to make sure I was in good shape to donate, and then I went into an exam room to get my physical.
The physical part of my visit took about 30 minutes, and consisted of a hands-on exam, reviewing my answers to the health questions from the kiosk, and going over the consent portion of the paperwork I signed. Once the physical was done, I was given my donor ID and payment cards and buzzed into the back.
Once I was seated in a bed in the back, the process (at least on my end) was pretty similar to blood donation, which I used to do regularly in high school, college and during my first few years after graduation. They looked at my veins, swabbed the area, and inserted the needle. Since it was my first visit, they took an extra vial to test for blood borne illnesses and then I was on my way! I had to squeeze when the cuff around my arm inflated so my blood would go into the machine faster, and relax when the cuff did so it would return my blood easier. The donation process took about an hour, and my needle did have to be repositioned once.
Overall, the whole process took me about 4 hours, and I got $125 deposited onto my payment card at the end of it!
The Second Donation
That Thursday, I went in to make my second donation, which is necessary when you donate plasma. If you don’t donate twice, they don’t have enough material to make any products and have to destroy your first donation, which is a shame.
When I went in, I headed straight for the kiosk and answered all 100 questions again. Once I finished, I had my blood levels, blood pressure, temperature, and pulse measured, and was sent to the back.
However, we had an issue this time. That vial they collected last time to check for illnesses? The lab never submitted it! I had to redo all my paperwork and physical again. The process was much faster this time, with the nurse confirming my details on the computer as I filled out the forms and speeding through the consent and physical, since I had just completed them four days earlier. Once finished, I was sent back to the back, where I completed my donation again in about an hour.
For this visit, I received $175 on my card (I got a bonus for having to repeat my physical and paperwork), and it took about 2.5 hours!
The Third and Fourth Donations
These last two donations went pretty smoothly. I only had to answer about 30 questions on the checkin kiosk these times, and there were no issues! My pulse on the third visit was a little high, but I just sat for 15 minutes and they repeated the measurements, and I was good to go!
For the third donation, it took about 75 minutes total, and I received $100.
For the fourth donation, it took about 60 minutes total, and I also received $100.
My Final Thoughts
Overall, I’ve had a good experience with the plasma donation process. I think the compensation is well worth the time, and since I’m familiar with blood donation, the process is very similar. If anything, it’s a little better, since they don’t take your red blood cells and give you saline at the end, so you don’t feel so crappy when you’re finished. Of the four donations I did, I only got lightheaded once, and I felt better as soon as the saline started pumping.
Since I did previously donate blood and like to give where I can, I think I will be continuing to regularly donate in the future. The payments are much higher in the first month, and drop to $40/session afterwards, plus bonuses for your second donation of the week. I have some exciting income news to share in my monthly update in a couple weeks, but even with that change, I still see myself donating at least once a week after the first month is over.
I very much think it’s worth it, especially when I went back and calculated that if I had started donating plasma instead of blood regularly when I was in college, I would have earned at least $25,000. That’s huge. And as somebody whose blood type isn’t in high demand, I can make just as big of, if not a bigger, impact on others by donating plasma instead.
If you’re considering donating, I recommend giving it a shot! And in the meantime, I’ll be back with my monthly MyConstant update around the 25th.
Until then, thanks for hanging out!