Frugal Living, General, Philanthropy 

Earn Gas Money, Donate Plasma (Save Lives)

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Students at BYU-Idaho are donating their plasma for $20-$25 each time to help defray the cost of gasoline, pretty amazing. In reading more about it on the Red Cross website, the process only takes 20 minutes longer than a regular blood donation and your platelets replenish after 48 hours.

So you won’t have to give your arm, leg or first born for a tank of gas but some platelets will do. Selling critical body fluids for cash just seems a little (a lot) wrong to me.

{ 56 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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56 Responses to “Earn Gas Money, Donate Plasma (Save Lives)”

  1. LAMoneyGuy says:

    I’ve never sold blood for cash, but I think I would. I don’t know. I curious why you think it’s a lot wrong. I have donated blood at school and work blood drives. I’ll do it for free, but if they’re willing to give me a few bucks, I won’t turn it down.

  2. dakboy says:

    If the market’s there, why not? At least they’re not selling to the highest bidder. If it gets more people donating (which is something that always seems to be needed), and the Red Cross doesn’t end up paying out so much money that they end up bankrupt, I say go for it.

    I’ll keep doing it for free, but if they offer me a few bucks I won’t say no.

    Depending on how much you do, however, there could be tax issues, couldn’t there?

  3. jim says:

    I would like to believe, my optimism may be showing here, that people donate blood and plasma for altruistic purposes, not for gas money. Granted, when you start paying for plasma then you’ll start getting more donations (good for everyone) but eventually all those people who were already donating for free will now demand money for it. In the end, you won’t get any donations for free because people will feel ripped off. You take all the altruistism out of a supposedly selfless act and make it a financial decision.

    I am not judging the people who donate plasma for gas money – they are working within the system, helping others and helping themselves, but I just think the whole concept of paying for blood makes me uncomfortable. That’s not the fault of the donors but a system that forces organizations like the Red Cross to feel they need to pay people in order to get enough plasma.

    • Kathy says:

      I have donated plasma many times, it is not fun! It is alot different than donating whole blood and is not as easy as you think.

      Before you even donate they do a mini physical and test your blood to make sure it is ok to donate.

      The actual donation process takes 45 min to an hour. You are hooked up to a machine that takes your whole blood out, separates the red and white cells, while it is separating you are getting saline pumped into your arm which is a bit uncomfortable and you taste itand it makes you really cold, then once separated it pumps the red cells back into your arm, this happens 4 to 5 times and when you finally reach 2 pints, it then pumps blood thinner in your arm to prevent blood clots, this stuff is really nasty and leaves you feeling a little weak, nauseated and winded, so there is alot more risk involved.

      You sometimes get people that are not experienced at hooking the IV needle in your arm and stick it through your veins in your arms, this happened in both my arms the last time I donated causing hemotomas, (giant black and blue and green bruising) sometimes running from the middle of your forearm to the middle of your bi~cept and then you can not donate for two months!

      Not to mention the lines for donating plasma are huge now and you spend close to 4 or 5 hours of your day waiting, I have spent up to 8 hours.

      These centers have been paying plasma donors as far back as I can remember, my first donation was back in 1981. Back then they were paying donors $ 45.00 on the first donation and went up after that, the more you donated the more you made. Now you only get $25.00 on the first donation of the week and $40.00 on the second and that is only if you weigh a certain amount, people that weigh less get paid less. The pay has been steadily declining and you have to deal more with inexperienced tech’s that more often than not hurt you, so I believe plasma donor should be paid!

      Donating plasma has allowed me to put food on my table for my family of six. We would have gone hungry otherwise or had to go to a food bank and get food and the food you get there is minimal and most of it is food that has expired or going to expire soon and the people there make you feel like crap for struggling to make ends meet!

      Our unemployment rate is huge and with no jobs to be had out there this is a win win situation and a life saver both ways!


      • Jody says:

        I totally agree with you Kathy, on this whole process. You are only able to donate twice a week, and for me it is 20.00 the first donation and 30.00 the second. I am able to donate the highest amt anyone can donate and it is rough on the body. When I get done, I am so weak, that I can’t even pick up my infant son because it literally makes me feel nautious and even throw up. It isn’t exactly non painful to go through this either!!! And you don’t get the nicest people in the world to deal with as well. Nevermind the fact that they test your blood before every visit just to make sure that it is ok to take. This is no picnic, so those of you out there that judge against us that go through hell to save another’s life…..think twice cuz it just may be your life that we end up saving!!! And if you have never done it before…yeah my point exactly!!!! Thank you to all of those who do donate whether it is for money or not.

    • Abby says:

      It’s MY plasma, therefore MY decision as to whether I want to give it away or sell it. Also, I’ve been laid off since June. I’m trying to keep my house and pay for school. I need the money.

  4. MoneyDummy says:

    It’s not organizations like the Red Cross who are buying the plasma. It’s major pharmeceutical companies who then turn around and make about a billion dollars from the medicines they make using the plasam. LOL.

    I’ve sold plasma, and I know plenty of people who have. When you’re broke, you do what you gotta do. It’s the same mentality that propels many pfbloggers to do the things they do. You don’t whine, you don’t snivel, you don’t call Mom and Dad, and you don’t whip out the credit card. You figure out a way to make things happen for yourself and if that means letting someone stick a needle in your arm, you do it. At least I do. LOL. (Well, did.)

  5. vivian swann says:

    I’ve donated blood often, but that needle hurts in some states because they
    refuse to use smaller needles. So if they want my blood for an emergency, it’s
    free. But if I have to endure the agony of their stubborness, they’ll have to pay!

  6. Geeze Goose says:

    Selling blood/plasma for gas? That’s crazy !

    C’mon all you guys out there, don’t sell blood – sell semen !
    As long as were being screwed by the oil companies we may as well
    do something appropriate (and maybe enjoy it?)

  7. J3Carlisle says:

    I am looking into it right now, but its not for gas, its for my phone bill, and for a present for my girlfriend. Yeah its not the red cross that is buying the plasma, however both the companies that buy plasma, and those like the red cross that have it donated both make LOADS of money off selling the plasma to hospitals and such, the difffernce is what they do with the blood money

  8. John says:

    Donate plasma 2 times per week starting at age 18 and keep doing it until you are 28. Put the $2600 per year into a Roth IRA and when you turn 65 you could have $1,000,000+, assuming 10% return per year average. That’s alot of gas money!

    I donate plasma and have no problem with people donating or selling any parts of their body that replenish themselves without any negative side effects. People sell hair, semen, eggs, plasma, and their body to medical studies (while they are alive).

    I value the money I receive for my donations and it surely changed my spending habits. $100 for a pair of Nike shoes seems so much more pathetic when you donate plasma for $50 per week. I never bought a $100 pair of shoes, but I have spent money on stupid stuff!

  9. marymo says:

    Maybe if the cost of tuition hadn’t doubled in the past couple of years, maybe if the price of gas wouldn’t have quadrupled, maybe if minimum wage had gone up, maybe if credit card interest rates hadn’t gone to an all time ridiculous high, maybe if interest rates on student loans hadn’t gone up….then maybe, just maybe college students wouldn’t be forced to sell their plasma just to make ends meet. Just maybe.

  10. colacey says:

    Laying in bed crying after a late night bar crawl, donating plasma starts to sound pretty damn good. Especially when you are holding four drinking tickets. At the University of Iowa, PAULA’s (possession of alcohol under the legal age) are at an all time high, 380 dollars a pop. You definitely gotta do whatcha gotta do. If becoming a blood whore is the only option, I SAY YES! BRUISED AND BATTERED BUT BETTER THAN BEING BROKE!

    • ienb says:

      Good luck with that since you can’t give plasma if you’ve had any alcohol within a certain amount of time. You might have to sober up for a while if you want to pay off those tickets.

  11. ashdol says:

    Donating blood is VERY different than donating plasma…I haven’t heard of places paying for blood but I know they pay for plasma. It’s something that is very much needed and can’t be made in labs and has been going on for a long time, my mom was donating to make ends-meet in the late 70s. I plan on donating for the extra cash while in college because I’m too busy with school work to be able to get a real part-time job and I have yet to find anything wrong with the whole thing.

  12. Scott says:

    One big drawback for plasma donation is the WAIT involved after checking in. There is a plasma service a few blocks from my work and it’s routinely a very busy place. Even though the service is also near a college campus nearly all of the donors I’ve seen are low income minorities, not students.

    I’ve donated three times thus far and averaged about three hours for each stop. That’s a lot of time invested after an already long day at work.

  13. rad says:

    does anyone know any places in so california that pay for plasma??

    • Kathy says:

      I lived in San Diego and donated at ZLB Plasma back in the 80’s I am sure they are still around, look them up.

  14. mark says:

    Do you buy P;atlets and if so what do you pay

  15. gab says:

    I have hap A and donate in L.A. and get $500 for each donation. It will help to pay my hospital bills and doctor bills.
    I was told that my plasma is going to be sold to drug companies.
    They fly me out and pay my bills also. I am going to be able to do this 2 times a week for about 2 month and come home each time, with a $1,000
    Hap A is bad. I am yellow and week. There is another guy who goes with me from Texas. He has hap B and told me that this is a God sent, as he is very sick, and has 3 children. So if you are sick of people who donate for cash, so be it.
    I respect your openion, but I both help science and help to pay my bills and say thank you, and hope I can go a few more times.

  16. jennifer says:

    I am an EMT who is struggling in a just-above-minimum-wage job. I was raised in the mindset that donation of any part of your body was to be given freely, as a gift. I have regularly given my blood, sans pay, for years. But now, with the outrageous gas prices, I find myself researching pay-for-plasma clinics just so that I can get money to get to work.

    • Kathy says:

      Once you donate plasma and learn what is involved, you will understand why they pay, it is not like donating whole blood and there is more risk involved, because they are taking bodily fluids out, you are at higher risk of life threatening blood clots, they will not tell you this when you donate, of course, but you will notice at the end of each donation they will pump blood thinner into your vein.

  17. ellen herman says:

    OK guys!!! I must admit I am really scared of needles~and I am afraid of looking at blood, but I have sold my plasma for gas money and I might just go and do it again. I feel like I might have saved a life with my pint of plasma, and since I need premium gasoline for my Benz, I definately will do it again. Lets get it together guys, we will save many lives, and make our gas money to get us to work or wherever we need to go.

  18. meg says:

    i have donated plasma, double-reds and whole reds for free at the blood center and also at blood drives for my friends. i dont get paid for it but i see no reason why people shouldnt want to make a couple extra bucks for it. if ur giving part of your body dont u deserve just a little compensation for it? im sure that if u were to be in a hospital and needed a blood transfusion or platletes it would cost just a little bit more than $20, so why not make a small profit off of a good deed?

  19. Albert says:

    The concern about using cash as an incentive for people to donate blood or plasma is that it might encourage people to lie about their medical history. Before you donate you answer dozens of questions and a yes answer to any one of them might disqualify you–have you traveled out of the country in the last year? have you been in the military? have you ever used drugs? paid for sex or had sex with anyone who has? had ibuprofen in the last 48 hours? etc. etc. If people really need the money, they’ll lie to get it. Dishonesty on a donation form can jeopardize the safety of the blood and plasma supply and can seriously harm patients who are already sick. If your motivation is cash vs. helping someone, then your motivation is self-centered and suspect.

    • Kathy says:

      Believe it or not every one of the plasma donations are tested for this reason! If they are found unsafe, they are bio wasted or sold to labs for pharmacudical test on future medications. I often wondered this being I often have seen quetionable people donating, they test thourghly and know these people have been using drugs, some of these people have hepatitis or Hiv and their plasma is sold to pharmacutical companies trying to create drugs to treat these diseases. I asked someone reputable that does this for a living and there is just as much demand for bad blood as there is for good.

  20. Mark says:

    They used to pay people for blood donations, but in the 80’s laws were passed to bann this practice, because there was a popular image that drunks and drug addicts were the ones donating for $. It was at the hight of the HIV scare, so it was suppose to keep HIV out of the system. Turns out that this assumption was false and the pay for $ blood was actually better, then the general blood donation poplulation. This is because if you want to get paid to donate blood you better keep yourself free of disease – it was figured. A financial incentive to stay healthy.

    So blood donations were not always free donations. I wonder what loophole exists that allows plasma donations rather then full blood dontation.

  21. Jennifer says:

    well, personally I don’t care why people are donating, just as long as they are donating. Should people be asking for money so that they can potentially save somebody’s life? no. But people do. The first time i donated plasma and they paid me for it I was surprised, I didnt even know you could get paid for such things, but I took the money, and I dont feel bad about it. And there is no requirement for the red cross or any other organization to pay people for their blood, but some organizations are paying, so the next one starts up because they see that more people are donating, and thats what counts. Bottom line, as long as people are donating, I’m happy. Even if they’re donating for the wrong reasons

  22. David H says:

    In my honest opinion, they just shouldn’t call it a donation. I have no problem with the concept at all. Unfortunately, there isn’t a surplus of truly altruistic people who give blood/plasma for the sake of helping someone in need. And even those who say that they donate just to help other people may have their own ulterior motives. It could be something as simple as pleasing someone else or just getting a little extra time off of work or even classes. So, if pharmaceutical companies want to increase interest by offering a little compensation, why not? The person receiving the blood/plasma isn’t going to care if someone was paid for it, so why should the rest of us?

    By offering compensation, they are increasing awareness and some people may even get accustomed to donating so that they can feel a little better about themselves. The patient’s getting some blood/plasma, The pharmaceutical companies’ are getting more resources to develop better medicines, and the donors are getting a little extra cash to pay for the rising costs of gas, insurance, and credit cards. I don’t see anything wrong with that because everybody wins and nobody loses. Sure, there are the uninhibited few who cannot see beyond themselves and lie about their medical history for the cash, but that’s why ANYTHING that’s donated should be thoroughly tested.

    We should know by now that everyone lies or may not know how significant something they do is in relation to their bodies. I’m sure people would scoff at the ibuprofen question in the screening process because the majority of our doesn’t look beyond the directions portion of our medications(sorry if that ibuprofen bit came out of nowhere. I’ve been reading a lot of sites while researching gay rights. Did you know that gay men can’t donate blood? I see the reasoning, but I still think it’s wrong).

  23. OneLittleJab says:

    I’ve donated blood and platelets since they passed the law saying as long as you have parental consent, you can donate at sixteen (that’s the law in Kansas, I don’t know if it’s the same everywhere else). I’m eighteen now, and donate blood every other month and platelets every month in between. I just graduated from high school in May, and I’m struggling to stay financially secure now that I’ve moved out. I’m not going to school just yet because I can’t afford it, and I have a part time job that’s only paying me $7 an hour. So, if I need a little extra money for gas, or food, even, I’m willing to let them suck as much out of me as they legally can. There’s nothing wrong with it. They use the plasma/platelets/blood to help people. Like most everyone else said before me, “I’ll do it for free, but if they’re willing to give me a few bucks, I won’t turn it down”.

  24. Chris says:

    Donating plasma is NOT blood.
    Blood(whole red blood cells) you can donate once every 2 months!
    Plasma(water, protien, and hormons) twice a week and you lose very little red blood cells

    Who is going to spend 3 hours a week and have a needle in their arm for an hour each time. Nobody.

    So people “donote” money for you for you “donating” your time to them.
    This is also way there is NO tax involvment after you “make” so much money. They donote to you and you donate to them. So you don’t lose any of the time, nor do you report it. Unless some states have created laws for this? In texas there is none.

    Blood is a whole other story, blood you can do every 2 months and no big deal, people don’t feel like its a choir, they feel good about it. With plasma, i couldnt do that twice a week for no gain….

    The money? So worth it! Where i live in austin texas its 20$ first time and 35$ second time. And there are ALWAYS a type of deal going on like if you donate 5 times in a row without missing its an extra 10$, then 7 times an extra 20$. The other day, one donation was worth 65$ to me!
    Bottom line, WITHOUT the extra stuff they throw at you, it comes out to be about 22$ an hour provided you go at a 50% business level, its about 26$ an hour if you go when they are not busy! Where i am if you go after work, its about a 3 hour time in the building, if you go when its slow an hour and 1-20 mins at max.

    And forget gas, this is also a cheap car payment! Or retirement. Or in my case my “play money” all money i get from plasma is loaded onto a debit card (the company does that) and i use that card for eating out, movies, my xbox live account, making computers, video games, ect….
    And even then, i got like 800$ on the darn thing right now. Time to get to an ATM and take that money and give my savings account nice boost!

  25. Chris says:

    OneLittleJab, federal law stops that. You CAN NOT donate plasma in ANY state if you have donated a pint of whole blood without the last 60 days.
    Or else i would still be donating whole blood as well as plasma.

    Also for the companies around here in austin texas, they will not take ANYONE under 18. No matter what. I am not sure if this is a federal, state, or company law thing.

    David H, they keep it marked as a donation, that way they can give you money, legally, they can’t pay you for plasma. SO you donate time and plasma, they donate money for your time.
    The same thing is done for almost ALL medical drug tests, here in austin we have LOTS of these companies, CEDRA, PPD, cirex (sp) and some other smaller ones. These guys pay you 2000$ just to live at their resort, and yes its more of a resort/jail type thing then anything. To take some meds and give blood tests. They donaote money to you for you donating your time to help test their new drug.

    I started donating whole blood on my 18th birthday, the day i learned about plasma donations last christmas was the day i quit doing whole blood.
    BOTH whole blood and plasma saves lifes, granted not all plasma donoated is used to help people directly, but some is, my favorit is vacsantions for kids, or for people who were in a fire and have burn scars. The plasma is used for other things too. Whole blood is always used to help people. Either way, you are doing good for the world by donating.

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