If you're looking to make some quick cash you can always donate your plasma, the clear yellowish fluid portion of the blood that transports water and nutrients to all the cells in the body and is used for transfusions to people who have suffered shock, burns or trauma. Although your body quickly replenishes its supply of plasma, there are a few precautions you should take before using yourself as an organic ATM and donating plasma from your blood.
- Skill level:
Check with the Yellow Pages or a nearby college campus for the closest plasma collection center, blood bank or blood collection facility. There are more than 400 for-profit plasma collection centers in the United States.
Eat something two hours before donating plasma and drink lots of water to avoid feeling light-headed, which is common after donating blood.
Plan to spend a few hours at the center the first time you go. Prospective donors are questioned about their health history and circumstances that may put them at risk for being HIV positive. You will also be asked if you've had any piercings or tattoos within the last 12 months. You'll undergo a physical exam, be screened for drugs, and be asked to sign waivers.
Lie down, relax and let the technician insert a needle into your vein. The blood flows into a sterilized machine that separates the plasma from the red blood cells and then pumps blood back into your bloodstream, in a process called apheresis.
Allow time for your medical history to be reviewed each time you return. After the initial visit, donating usually takes 30 minutes if there is no waiting line.
Expect to earn up to $35 for each donation (twice a week max). Donors who have been vaccinated for hepatitis B can earn up to $60 per week.
Tips and warnings
- Every unit of plasma collected is tested for the presence of hepatitis, HIV, antibodies and antigens. The amount of plasma you can donate is based on your weight.
- If you really want to help your fellow citizens, donate blood--it's in shorter supply and it's a nonprofit gesture.
- It's easy to sell your plasma often, but you risk scarring your veins and depleting your iron levels if you donate too frequently.