How Much Do You Get Paid for Donating Plasma?

Many people choose to donate blood or plasma as a way of helping others who need it for health reasons. While donating blood won't get you anything in return except for a good feeling in your heart, donating plasma actually pays money to those willing to do it. The reason centers pay donors for their plasma but not for blood is because paying for blood is seen unethical by hospitals, and may encourage people to donate their blood with the wrong incentive in mind. This can put the safety of the blood at risk, as people may not be so forthcoming about their blood-borne illnesses. Blood goes to a human directly, so this is a big concern, whereas plasma does not go straight to another person. Plasma is broken up into different proteins where it gets turned into pharmaceuticals, and there are typically fewer risks.

Plasma Centers

Locate a plasma center by searching phrases that are similar to "plasma donation center near me." Most plasma centers are located in larger cities, so you may have to go online to find the nearest donation location. The website Donating Plasma has a nationwide locator that lists plasma centers by city and state or ZIP code. To qualify, a donor must be between the ages of 18 and 68, weigh more than 110 pounds, be medically screened and in good health. In the state of Nebraska, you must be at least 19 to donate plasma. Plan on staying for several hours on your first visit. After verifying your identity with a photo ID, your Social Security card and a piece of mail with your name and current address, you will be cleared for the next step, which is to be medically screened before your giving first donation.

The First Donations

Compensation varies according to your weight and the individual center's policies. Some will also give more money on your first visit, for instance, an extra $5. Most plasma centers pay between $30 and $70, and since you can donate up to two times every week, people are able to make up to $400 a month just by donating their plasma. At some locations, new donors also receive a higher payment for a fourth donation. The actual amount of compensation varies according to the company's policies and the current need for blood plasma.

Regular Donations

After the initial three or four donations, depending on current compensation schedules, donors are encouraged to return twice weekly. In most cases, on the first visit, you will get paid more due to a coupon the center may provide, and that payment can increase if you have the Anti-D antibody in your plasma. Your weight also influences how much you get paid, and there are three ranges: 110-149 pounds, 150-174 pounds and 175-400 pounds. The higher your weight, the more plasma you can give, so the payment is more. The end of a week is the close of business on Sunday, with Monday starting the new week. The Food and Drug Administration limits donations to twice within a seven-day period, so if you donate on Wednesday and Friday, you can't come in earlier than the following Wednesday to donate again.

Incentive Programs

In addition to the regular compensation which will be paid via a reloadable debit card, plasma centers have incentive programs to encourage repeat donations. These programs may include a bonus payment or a prize, such as movie tickets or points that can be traded in for bonus cash. Incentive programs vary among the different companies and may change every month. You may also receive a bonus payment if you bring a friend to the plasma center with you. Your payment is added to your prepaid debit card after he is approved and successfully donates plasma.