Donating Plasma

EDIT: Apparently, you can't get paid for plasma in Canada. This might only be useful to those from the US.

EDIT #2: Apparently, you can't donate everywhere in the US either. Here's a map I found for donation centers that may be helpful.

I posted in an entry a few days ago about donating plasma, and wanted to share with everyone in case they're curious about how to pick up some spare cash.

The first time you go to donate, it's a rather long process (at least it was for me). They show you a video and talk a lot about the safety procedures and when you can and cannot donate.

On a 'regular' trip to donate, they do three things - check your weight (if you're under 110 or so, you can't donate), check your iron count (with a prick to your finger - if it's too low, you can't donate) and they go over a series of questions (have you gotten a tattoo in the past 12 months, traveled to Africa, etc). If you pass those 'checks', you go back to the waiting room with your paperwork until you're called. The place I went to had a large variety of relatively current magazines, but a lot of people would bring their own reading or study material.

Once you get called, you go to the donation area and get in a recliner-like chair with your paperwork. They ask you which arm you want (I always did my left arm so I wouldn't have scars on both arms) and they set you up to go. The needle sticks don't hurt too much, but there are times when they need to move the needle around, which can be uncomfortable. They also give you a squeeze toy to pump with the hand of your donating arm, to help speed up the process. Once you've filled your bag (roughly an hour), they give you a saline solution (through the same needle) to replace the fluid you just donated. Takes about 5 minutes or so - it will feel cool coming into your body since the saline is at room temp. It doesn't hurt at all, but it is a weird feeling. After that, they bandage you up and you get paid. The place I go always gives cash, which is nice. You can also set up your next appointment at that time. Sometimes for new donors, they have specials (I've seen first time people get $30). You can only donate twice a week, but it's great if you want to get paid to read or listen to headphones and squeeze your hand every few seconds.

I donated a lot in college and it was nice to have some spending money as a result! Advice before donating would be to eat a regular meal beforehand and drink lots of water - it makes the donating a lot easier! If your iron count is too low, you can't donate either, so make sure you're eating right (or taking your vitamins, you little Hulksters!)

We've got a local plasma center that only does donations, but otherwise a look in your local phone book or a call to a local hospital should help you find a place near you.

I haven't donated for a few years, so the procedures might have changed, but let me know if you have any questions.
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Just a little FYI for people reading who are from Canada: you cannot exchange your plasma for money here, so you won't find clinics like those mentioned in previous posts.
i think its still the same. if you drink a lot of water prior to going to the clinic, the donation time can be cut down...
New York also won't pay for plasma :(

Not sure if it's just the city or the entire state, but I asked in Manhattan!
I was pretty sure you didn't get money for it because they always have blood drives here but you never get paid - you get a cookie, but wow... thanks for verifying it tho, I was suspicious bigger cities might but I guess we do get free health care so it's a fair trade off for not getting paid to donate plasma :)
it helps, even if you hate Michael Moore (because I hear a lot of Americans do) watch Bowling for Columbine, all of the stuff he says about Canada is true :S they even show a guy coming out of the ER with stitches and they're all how much did you pay for that?! And he's all nothing, and they go oh you get a bill later? And he says nope, it's all covered - it's a very comforting thing to know its there
I'm a Moore fan and, while I don't agree with all of his observations, he's right more than he's wrong.

I might need to crash on your couch for a while if Dubya wins in November ;)
lol sure the house me and cousin are moving into comes with a free hide-a-bed! he bought the house from a retired couple and they figure rather than moving the thing they'll just leave it for us
michigan gives money for plasma, but my mother insists they won't take any if you've been out of the country over the past year...which would prevent me from doing so. do you know if thats true?
I believe it depends on which country/countries you've been to. At the place I went to, they always had a map that showed which ones meant you couldn't donate. I'd recommend giving a call - they can probably tell you over the phone.
Re: selling plasma?
Good point - they've always referred to it as 'donating' at the plasma center.
things i learned...
1. buy a bottle of kids aspirin. chew two tablets before you go to donate. it will make your blood thin just a bit and your donation time will be faster.

2. check out multiple plasma centers to find out which one pays the most. i know here in birmingham (al, usa) there are several centers...some of which take any donor that meets the basic requirements - payments actually vary from center to center, and some "specialized" research-type centers that pay more for your plasma if you have had certain immunizations (hepatitis b and c are ones that come to mind).

3. i used to have a lot of trouble (after donating twice a week for over a year) with keeping my protein and iron high. my "tricks" were to eat lots of eggs and spinach the night before i would donate. also, do make sure you eat approx. 2-3 hours before you go, and drink lots of water.

ALSO if you live in a town with a research-oriented university, see if there are any studies that you can participate in. while i would not recommend participating in any drug or vaccine testing, there are usually clinical studies going on that are screening blood glucose levels or studying pain tolerance or sleep disorders. i've even had mri's taken of various body parts for $50 per one hour session. sometimes you can even find studies (for cholesterol or weight loss) that provide meals for a length of time (2-6 months, usually).
Also, in the states, if you have Rh sensitized blood, you can get paid a whole lot more to donate plasma because that is used in making the Rhogam shot.
Does the soreness happen every time? :/ I don't think I can do this twice a week if it does... in fact I'm thinking about cancelling my Friday appointment.
I got used to it pretty quickly. It's just having your arm in one place for so long without being able to bend it. Maybe stretch out beforehand? I remember it after the first time, but not again after that.
Do you happen to know anything about the car donations programs in Canada? I would appreciate any kind of information, I am sure there are plenty of donation centers but each of them is set for specific items.