When I was in the last few months of my debt free journey, I decided to ramp it up. I did’t have a ton of time so I knew I needed a side hustle that gave me flexibility. That’s when I stumbled upon selling my plasma for around $50 per session and up to $400 per month!
That sounds great right? Well it is and isn’t. Selling plasma is a great way to make money quickly but it also comes with its downsides. If you have ever donated blood then you know that it is not that comfortable to have a needle in your arm for two hours. Also to get all of the donation bonuses, you need to go twice a week or up to 8 times a month. On the up side, you are doing something that can help save lives while making money at the same time. There’s not a ton of side hustles that you can say do that!
There weren’t a ton of plasma donation centers near me, so my options were limited. In major cities, there tends to be a lot more options. The FDA limits donations to twice a week and a minimum of two days apart. So when you pick a center, stick with it so that you can earn the bonuses from that company. Going to multiple centers won’t work since it is federally regulated on how many times you can donate.
All I did was a quick google search for plasma donation centers and found CSL Plasma. They had a good bonus program, paid me via prepaid card and had long business hours so that I could go before work. If there isn’t a CSL Plasma near you then some of the other major plasma donation centers are Grifols Plasma and Octapharma Plasma.
All donation centers have their own pay rates, programs, and processes (like whether they offer appointments or walk-in only) so make sure to call around if you are lucky enough to have several centers near you!
Before you start selling your plasma, you have to meet several requirements. For your first appointment, you will need to:
- Be at least 18 years old
- Weigh at least 110 pounds
- Have a photo ID
- Provide a proof of social security number
- Show a proof of current address
- Have a clean medical history
Because plasma donation centers want to make sure the plasma they are collecting isn’t contaminated before it goes to help save lives, you will basically have to repeat a pre-screening every time you donate. You should expect to go through several steps every time you sell your plasma. These steps include:
- Answering pre-screening questions
- Weighing in to make sure you are still in an approved weight range
- Testing negative for transmittable viruses including hepatitis and HIV
- Having a finger prick test to check iron and protein levels
- Checking your temperature and blood pressure to make sure they are in appropriate ranges
Also, expect that if anything in the above list is high or low for whatever reason, that you will not be allowed to donate for 24 hours. You can come back the following day, but only do so if you are actually feeling better and are healthy enough to donate.
When I was selling my plasma, I had to pay attention to my diet and health so that I didn’t end up getting deferred for a day. This was great for my waist line! The second I stopped paying attention to my body, my protein levels ended up dropping and I got a 24 hour deferral and it messed up the whole rhythm of my week.
So in order to keep making money by selling your plasma, you should:
- Drink lots of water before your appointment
- Get a good amount of sleep (don’t skip this! Sleep can throw off your protein levels)
- Eat a healthy meals with good amounts of protein
- Exercise regularly
Since selling plasma means you are making money from your blood, you absolutely need to take care of your body! When my blood pressure was too high because I was too stressed from work, I got deferred for 24 hours and missed a bonus pay for that week. Selling plasma is not easy, so you need to take care of yourself in order to make money in this way.
The FDA limits donations to twice a week and you must wait at lease 48 hours between sessions. In my experience, most donation centers offer a base pay for the first donation of the week and a bonus pay for the second. Also, if you make all 8 sessions in a month, the donation center usually offers an extra bonus ranging from $50-$80 for the 8th donation.
Though plasma donation is incredibly safe, you should be aware of some possible side effects. A lot of these stem from how well you are taking care of yourself, which is why that is so important.
These are probably the most common side effects. If you don’t eat a balanced meal and drink lots of water before your appointment, you are more likely to experience lightheadedness and dehydration. If you still experience lightheadedness after your appointment even though you had a good meal, then pack a snack for after. I used to keep granola and protein bars in my car in case I felt a little woozy after donating. Also, keep a bottle of water with you to stay hydrated before and after your appointment.
It is very rare but some people experience allergic reactions to donating plasma. Usually you do not know if you are allergic until you donate. In most cases the reaction ends up feeling like some mild itching or redness.
A citrate reaction is a more serious but very rare side effect from donating plasma. It can range from mild symptoms including numbness or experiencing a metallic taste to more serious symptoms like vomiting and shock.
This was the side effect that I experienced the most. Sometimes technicians would put the needle in at an awkward angle or not apply enough pressure when removing it which caused a bruise. For the most part, the discomfort went away after an hour or two and the bruise was so small that it usually went away in a day.
Like I said throughout this post, selling plasma is not easy. My plasma donation center didn’t offer appointment scheduling, so I had to get up at 5am to hopefully be one of the first 8 people in line. If I was a little too late getting up, I would end up having to wait until the first set of people were done with their session, which sometimes was over an hour.
Also, once you start donating regularly, you are more likely to experience drops in your iron levels. If they drop too low too often, your plasma center might tell you that you are no longer eligible to donate. The last few months when I was donating, I started to get deferred more often due to high blood pressure (from stress) and low iron levels. This is why it is so important to take care of your mind and body if you decide to sell your plasma. After I made my last debt payment, I decided to stop selling my plasma.
Selling plasma was a great side hustle while it lasted, but the early mornings and constant deferrals made it tiring. If you need a little boost in cash flow for a few months, then selling your plasma is a great option if you feel it is right for you. But, take care of yourself and be proud of the fact that your side hustle helped save some lives!