Between 30,000 and 50,000 pints of blood are donated daily. The 4.3 million Americans who need a blood transfusion annually benefit from these donations. A blood transfusion can be the deciding factor of whether a person in critical condition lives or dies.
It might seem as though plenty of blood is donated based on the numbers. However, with the variety of blood types and unique kinds of blood, every donation makes a huge difference. For example, the blood type Rh-null is so rare there are only nine known active donors with this blood type.
Additionally, during surgery and blood transfusions that occur daily, thousands of pints of blood are used and need to be replaced. Your donation could save a life.
Now, if the “good Samaritan” route isn't enticing enough, you can actually earn money from donating. Find out how by reading this article!
What Is Blood?
Blood is a natural, non-substitutable substance that is essential for the majority of life forms. It circulates throughout the entirety of the body, providing vital nutrients and other essentials like oxygen to the cells. Blood also filters out any waste that may serve as a toxin to these cells.
The only way for blood to be replaced outside of its natural cycle is to have it donated from a donor of the same or universal blood type.
Blood is made up of plasma, red and white blood cells, and platelets.
Plasma is what makes blood liquid. It is mainly composed of water, but also has sugar, salt proteins, and hormones.
The plasma's job is to provide water and nutrients for the tissues in your body.
Red Blood Cells
Red blood cells comprise almost half of the entirety of your blood. Four to five billion red blood cells are formed inside of your body hourly.
The lifecycle of a red blood cell is approximately 120 days.
White Blood Cells
White blood cells, or leukocytes, are only about one percent of your total blood mass. However, this does not make them any less critical.
White blood cells are your protection against disease and your stimulator for health. To protect you, whenever there is a threat, the white blood cells will move through your bloodstream or sometimes even leave it, and attack any intruders in your body.
Just like the red blood cells, they are continuously generated.
Platelets are named after their look, as they appear like tiny plates and take up the smallest amount of space in your blood cells. Their job is to moderate and control your bleeding. Without them, you would bleed uncontrollably with every wound.
When you’re cut or wounded, the platelets receive a signal from the blood vessels. Then, the platelets will travel to the wound, creating clots to stop the bleeding from progressing.
What Is Donated Blood Used For?
When you donate blood, you’re supplying a future blood transfusion. A blood transfusion is done using an intravenous line to replace blood lost during surgery or from injury, disease, bleeding disorder, etc.
Donating blood can save a life, as having a blood transfusion can make all the difference in whether a person will live or die. They can also allow for an improvement in the quality of life for somebody with an incurable condition.
What Are The Requirements For Donating Blood?
Not everybody can donate blood. Having guidelines is essential to receive healthy blood. Before you have blood taken, a doctor will have you detail your medical history, and:
- Take your pulse
- Blood pressure
- Check temperature
- Check for anemia
To be eligible for donating blood, you must be within decent health. This means you generally feel fine and can do everyday activities easily. Some people with certain conditions can give blood, as long as they’re being treated.
You need to weigh at least 110 pounds and be at least 16. Minors need parental permission to donate. You also need to show identification. Once you reach the age of 76, you need approval from your doctor to donate blood.
You’re considered ineligible to be a donor if you:
- Got a tattoo in the past year
- Have had hepatitis B or C or had sexual contact with somebody with B or C in the past year
- Received a blood transfusion in the past year
- Ever used intravenous/injectable drugs, such as heroin unless prescribed by a doctor
- Have AIDS
- Are a man that had sex with another man in the past year
- Have worked as a sex worker any time since 1977
- Have lived in the UK for 3+ months between 1980 and 1996
- Spent 5+ years in the UK
- Traveled in the past year to a location where malaria isn't uncommon
What Should You Bring With You To The Donation Center?
The most important thing to take with is your ID and proof of address. This will confirm your age, donor status, and identity. Typically, you need a valid photo ID.
Valid photo ID does not only mean driver's license. You can also use a passport, military ID, or any identification issued by your state.
If you’re a student, you can use your school ID if you don't have your license, along with your birth certificate for your date of birth.
If your ID is outside of state because you haven't updated it to your current location of residence, you will have to provide some sort of proof of your address. Proof can be:
- Photo ID
- W-2 form
- Paycheck stub
- Bill from the past 30 days
You might also need to provide evidence of citizenship. This can be done via your social security card, a pay stub with your full name and SSN, or a W-2 form.
If you’re not a US citizen, you might be able to use your border crossing card.
Blood Donation Process
First, you will lie down on a bed, reaching one of your arms out. It's usually the arm where more veins are visible.
Then, your blood pressure will be restricted using a tourniquet wrapped around the upper section of your arm. This will cause your veins to fill with more blood, making them easier to see and quickening the process of inserting the needle and filling up the blood bag.
Next, the tissue on the inner portion is cleaned. A clean and sterile needle will be inserted into one of your veins. If your veins are challenging to locate, it might take a little longer to get to this point.
Once blood is traveling up the syringe, it’s collected into tubes for testing. When the test blood is tested, about a pint of your blood will be drawn. Once done, the needle will be removed and a bandage will be placed in the spot where blood was drawn.
Another method becoming increasingly popular is apheresis. With this method, blood is removed from your outstretched arm. The blood will then filter through a machine, which will separate the specific component that is needed. For example, you can specifically donate platelets.
After the specific substance is drawn, the remainder of the blood that was drawn is returned to your body. This way, you can donate large amounts of platelets, as the rest of the blood is returned.
How Long Does It Take To Donate Blood?
Ignoring the waiting time before your appointment, traditional blood donations only take approximately eight to ten minutes.
Alternatively, the apheresis process will take between 70 minutes and two hours. The time it takes will differ based on your weight. While this is a tedious amount of time, when the procedure is being done, you’re allowed to watch TV or listen to music to pass the time.
Are There Side Effects & Risks?
While blood donations don’t come with the risk of disease, as sterile equipment is used, you might have to deal with a few side effects.
For example, some people deal with nausea, lightheadedness, or dizziness after having blood drawn. If this happens to you, lie down with your feet up until it passes. The feeling should only last a few minutes, but if it lingers, alert a professional.
Another symptom is bleeding from whatever spot blood was removed from. To stop the bleeding, just raise your arm; applying pressure until it stops. You might end up with bruising, but that is normal. If the bleeding doesn't stop or a bump forms, call the donation center.
If you end up with severe arm pain, numbness, or a tingling sensation, you should also call – or head into the closest clinic.
How Often Can I Donate Blood?
To donate blood again for a regular transfer, you must wait a total of 56 days (eight weeks).
The reason behind the wait is your body takes various amounts of time to regenerate what was taken. You might not feel physically different after giving blood, as your body will completely reform the plasma. But, this amount of time is needed, as it will take your body around 56 days to replace the red blood cells that were lost.
The exact amount of time is really dependent on different variables, such as:
But, 56 days is long enough to compensate for all groups of people.
Alternatively, if you’re just donating platelets, you can do so every seven days, up to 24 times a year. This is because the red blood cells taken from your blood are replaced along with other components of your blood. Meanwhile, platelets only take about three days to be regenerated.
How Much Does Blood Donation Pay?
While you can't get paid for a whole blood donation, you can get paid for donating plasma. You will not be charitably donating to the Red Cross or a similar organization. Instead, you’ll be giving blood to a business. Your plasma will then be sold to various companies who will use plasma for their products.
The amount of profit you earn will be based on how invested you are. Meaning, the number of times you donate, the more money you make.
Your physique also has an effect on your earnings. The more you weigh, the more plasma you have and can donate. The ranges, set by the FDA, are
- 140-149 pounds
- 150-174 pounds
- 175-400 pounds
With every donation, you earn $20-$50. The skinnier you are, the closer to $20 your reward will be and the heavier you are, the closer to $50 it will be. You can donate twice a week at these private centers with one day in between.
Using this method, you can earn $300-$800 a month.
How Do Blood Centers Pay You?
Most places will pay you through a prepaid debit card to make the process easy. Other places might offer a check or cash.
Where Can I Donate Blood For Money?
A CLS Plasma location recently opened in Florida; becoming its 200th blood collection center. They have spots in over 35 states.
CSL Plasma's goal is to provide treatment of hemophilia, immune deficiencies, and neurological disorders.
Each collection center will provide a different reward. Similar to other centers, your compensation will be awarded with a prepaid debit card, which you can use immediately after donating. Donating with CSL Plasma, you will earn up to about $400 a month.
It has locations in the following states:
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- West Virginia
Grifols has a limit on the amount of money you can make. So, while the amount you get might differ based on your weight, the maximum compensation you can receive is $200/month.
You will only get paid if your plasma is used in making medicine. In order to make medicine, you must be a repeat donor. This means if you only donate once rather than coming back, you will not receive compensation, as you need at least two donations.
The company can be found in the following locations:
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
You can earn about $50 per donation with KEDPLASMA, going in twice a week. However, in order for this to apply, you must have type negative blood.
You can earn $250+ with your first five donations, but your compensation will likely lower to about $35-$40 per trip after that.
Their centers are in these states:
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
Octapharma Plasma is a great company to donate plasma to. It has over 80 donation centers located in 26 states.
You can read about their patient and donor stories on their website.
With every donation, you’re given a prepaid debit card. If you’re a first-time donor, you can earn hundreds of dollars after a few donations. With the New Donor Promotion, newcomers can earn up to $400 in a month. The profit is different in every location.
Money will not be your only reward. Regular donors can receive incentives to continue coming, prizes, and bonuses.
How Can I Prepare To Donate Plasma?
Before you donate plasma, you should drink plenty of water or juice (6 to 8 cups) the day before donating. You should also eat a lot of protein, such as chicken and tuna and iron-rich foods like broccoli and turkey. If your blood is found with insufficient levels of iron, you might not be able to donate. Eat a meal with these nutrients at least 3 hours before your donation.
Avoid fatty foods, such as pizza, potato chips and fries on the day before and the day of your donation. If you eat these, your plasma will become milky. Consequently, you'll be unable to donate. Don't drink any alcohol on the day before and the same day and don't drink caffeine the same day. You also can't smoke or use tobacco an hour before.
Get a good night's sleep. When well-rested, the plasma-extracting process will be significantly less uncomfortable. You’re also not allowed to fall asleep during the process because staff needs to consistently check on you and make sure you're doing alright.
If you’re an athlete or a regularly active person, lay off on the heavy exercise until after your donation.
Wear comfortable clothing, as you’ll be laying down for quite a while in a reclining bed. Make sure your shirt is short-sleeved.
Also, prepare some form of entertainment to take with you. About an hour and a half of getting blood drawn isn't the most thrilling pastime. You can take a tablet or laptop, as most centers have free Wi-Fi.
What Do I Do After Donating Plasma?
Once you finish donating plasma, there are a few things you can do to have a quick recovery.
Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Drinking water will help replace the fluids you lost during the donation process. Not too long after donating, eat foods with a lot of protein and iron. Sugary drinks and foods can also help a bit.
Don't smoke for 30 minutes or drink alcohol for 4 hours. Drinking alcohol can actually contribute to dehydration, making the recovery process slower than it should be. Alcohol also causes your blood vessels to dilate. When this happens, less blood will be able to circulate to your brain. This can be dangerous, as you’ve already been drained of 10% of your blood at this point – so there's less blood flowing to begin with.
Avoid heavy lifting or exercise for a full day after the donation. Activities of high intensity can increase your levels of fatigue, leading to fainting. It can also increase the chances of uncontrollable bleeding occurring in the area where you had blood drawn.
You should also wait a few days before you donate blood again to allow your plasma to recover.
Donating blood or plasma is a significant and honorable way to help people in need, potentially saving their lives. You can even turn donating plasma into a part-time job, making hundreds of dollars a month.
You do need to check you qualify. You should also prepare and recover correctly, as certain actions can cause fatigue and fainting after getting blood drawn.
Using this article, you should have an easier time trying to make money off donating your plasma/blood. Just be sure to stay hydrated!