Are you a good candidate to donate blood plasma, and give “the gift of life” to someone suffering from a chronic disease?
Needles aren’t for everyone. If you are squeamish then this might not be the way for you to get a quick cash injection. Plasma collection centers all across the US, pay for the time it takes to harvest the plasma from you. So in today’s cash strapped world it might be an option, when you need a few extra dollars in your pocket.
What is Blood Plasma?
Blood plasma is made up of water and essential proteins. These are nutrients that are carried all over your body, and used to keep your body functioning properly. These substances are also used in treatments for a lot of chronic, and often genetic, life threatening diseases all over the world. These therapies are called Plasma Protein Therapies. Patients on these treatments will require transfusions, or injections of these essential proteins for the duration of their lives. And at this time, there is no chemical or synthetic substitute. So it’s human blood proteins or bust.
Who can Donate?
Because diseases like HIV and Hepatitis C can be transmitted through blood plasma, there are very strict requirements for donating. Any potential donors need to disclose their full medical history, undergo a physical examination, and a series of blood tests. You also have to have a suitable level of protein in your blood, and not suffer from anaemia.
There are other requirements, you must be at least 18 years old, weight over 110 pounds, and not have had a piercing or tattoo done in the last 12 months. If you are looking to become a regular donor, centers also advise that you follow a diet that includes 50 to 80 grams of protein intake daily.
Remember your ID. You will need to produce it to donate.
How to Donate?
According to our research a first visit to a collection center, could take up to two hours out of your day. Depending on how busy the center is, it may take longer. But the procedure seems to be quite standard across the board.
You will receive a form about your medical history that you will have to fill in. This will also include questions about your sexual behaviour, body art and piercings etc. They urge all candidates to be truthful, and disclose any medication or treatments you may be on. This is vital since people’s lives are at risk.
Then you will have to undergo a medical examination to determine your state of health. If you are sick it could jeopardize, not only your own health, but also that of the recipient of the plasma therapy.
After this you go for a small blood test to determine if your protein levels are satisfactory. If they are, and you test non-reactive for HIV and other diseases, you will be able to be a donor.
The process seems quite straightforward. You will be taken to a collection area and made to sit down on a comfortable chair. A needle will be inserted into your arm, in much the same way that this would happen if you were donating blood. The difference comes in that once collected, your blood is run through a centrifuge, where the plasma is then removed from your red blood cells. The plasma is collected while the red blood cells are pumped back into your body. This process is called plasmapheresis.
How Often Can You Donate?
All the literature says that you can donate once or twice a week in the US. However European doctors recommend only donating twice a month to ensure you stay healthy.
How to Get Paid?
In the past collection centers would hand out cash or checks for successful donations. Those days are gone. What they have resorted to using now, is a form of debit card payment. Once you have made a successful donation, the bag with your plasma and ID number will be entered into the system. Once that happens your Donor Debit Card will be debited with the payment automatically. Some centers even have an ATM on site for your convenience, ensuring you can reach your money right away.
From our research it seems the amount paid is center and area dependant. It seems to range from $10 to $60 a donation. For more information you would have to find a donation center near you. http://donatingplasma.org/donation/find-a-donor-center
Preparing to Donate. How to Avoid Side-effects:
It is very important to make sure that you prepare yourself properly before donating.
Remember you will be taking essential nutrients and fluids out of your body. This can lead to dehydration which can cause dizziness, and in some cases blackouts. So make sure that you drink plenty of water the day before donating. Also keep in mind that your electrolytes will be low afterwards, so you will need to supplement them. Drinking a sports drink or two should help with that.
Make sure you follow the prescribed diet. This will ensure there is enough protein for your donation and your body.
Another thing to consider is that long term donating can often lead to scarring in your veins. This makes them weaker. Sores can also develop over time. So take care of yourself.
You may also find that your immune system is depleted after donating. This is because immunoglobin is part of the plasma being removed from your body. Over time this can leave you feeling run down, and you could experience sever exhaustion.
An anticoagulant called sodium citrate, is often used to stop your blood from clotting during the procedure. This can lead to a calcium deficiency in your body. The sodium citrate bonds with the calcium in your blood making it unavailable for your cells to use. This can cause hypocalcaemia which can be fatal. But this is only over time. So if you plan to donate often it would be prudent to ask the medical staff at the center about this.
As a means to scoring some cash for a little extra effort, this isn’t a bad idea. However, your health is important and should never be compromised.