Before you freak out and call me crazy, give me a chance. I've heard the horror stories about donating plasma. I know that it sounds gross, but I also know that times have changed.
Not only is donating plasma regulated by the FDA as well as other agencies, but all of the equipment is completely sterile. All tools and supplies are brand new and thrown away after every use. As a matter of fact, they are so strict about donating plasma, not just anyone can donate. All applicants need to be healthy: for example, you need to meet the daily requirements for protein and iron, and you need to weigh at least 110 lbs. Additionally, each applicant has to go through a series of screenings from medical history to an examination to a blood test. To read more about the tests and safety of donating check here.
For me there is no more pain involved in donating plasma than there is in making a routine donation of blood. That being said, if you have a hard time getting your blood taken, this might not be for you. Applicants need to have good veins because the needles used are a bit larger than the needles used when withdrawing blood. Also, take into consideration that the needle will be in place longer because they are withdrawing a larger amount of fluids. However, as you donate regularly, you build up scar tissue and soon don’t even feel the prick of the needle. While the initial visit, which involves a physical and paperwork, can take up to three hours, subsequent visits take an hour to an hour and a half. Of that hour, only 40 minutes will be actual donating. Each time you come to donate, plan on a finger prick and screening questions to ensure donor health. After donating, you'll receive sterile saline through the same needle to replace the plasma. Some facilities will provide refreshments and even child care services so you can focus on the donation process.
Because donating plasma is a time-consuming process and the world needs donors to ensure supplies, facilities are willing to compensate the donor for his or her time. While the rates vary, you can make up to $250 a month! Here’s a website that says they'll pay you anywhere from $20 to $35 per visit. Here’s one that says they'll pay up to $200 a month. After you donate, it takes around 48 hours for your body to replace the plasma as long as you are eating and drinking healthily. Federal regulations say that you can donate plasma up to twice a week, with 48 hours in between donations. However, take that information with caution. Just because you can do something, doesn't mean you should. If you feel extremely weak after donating or get sick easily after, you should probably space out your donation times.
Lastly, but certainly most important is the fact that you are contributing to saving a person's life when you donate plasma. There are numerous conditions requiring plasma: bleeding disorders, shock, organ transplants, burns, and rabies prevention, just to name a few. By taking the few hours to donate plasma every week, month, or even year, you are helping someone. I can't tell you of all the stories of people who were on the verge of death but received the plasma they needed and were given a second chance. If you want to learn more about the ways your plasma may be used, you can read more here.
While donating plasma is certainly not for everyone, it could be beneficial to your family. Whether you use the money for clothes, groceries, gas, or to pay your way through college, the important thing is that you're helping someone else. If you're interested in donating plasma, you can find a location near you here. Just click "find donor center," type in your zip code, and see what facilities are near you.
This has been a guest post by August from Granite Falls, NC
Find out more about the KCL Contributor Network!