September 27, 2016

Blood Money II

Healthy and STD free? Plasma donation is a viable way to earn $500 a month in extra income to make ends meet.

Car accident victims may need as many as 50 units of blood to stay alive. This means it requires 50 blood donors to save one life. As someone who has a rare blood type, I have always been aware of the importance of donating blood and plasma. Now, with the reality of having been out of a “day job” since October, donating plasma also seems like a good choice for my wallet. As Utah Stories reported last November, the numbers of donors and the frequency of donation are continuing to increase in Utah and across the US.


Phil Maher, creator of bloodbanker.com said that he has seen a huge increase in traffic to his website, and that the traffic of keyword searches like “How can I sell my plasma?” “How do I sell my blood?” and “Get paid for blood” on Google have skyrocketed. Maher usually sees a jump in traffic just before the holidays, which he attributes to people thinking more about giving back at that time of year.

utah blood doner

“This year traffic spiked a lot faster and went a lot higher than usual,” he said. And it’s still rising. This year Maher has seen over 50% more visitors to his website than last year. Another development Maher has noticed is that more “real families” seem to be turning to plasma donation as a means of filling up the car, paying the phone bill, or keeping the cupboards from becoming bare.

“I’ve been inviting people to share their stories with me through the site, and I’ve gotten some really good stories,” Maher said. “People who never would have thought about doing this are now seeing it as a real option financially.”

Typically, the majority of paid plasma donors tend to be college students or homeless people, according to Maher. He started donating when he was a college student and then started the site in 2002 to increase awareness of plasma donation and, eventually, help donors graduate to whole blood donation.


“My mission is to get people and families comfortable with the idea of donation with the paid option,” he explained. “Hopefully, people will get over any fear about the needles and the process while they’re young, and then once they are older they might go for the whole blood, Red Cross, aspect of donation.”

For the blood/plasma donation business, the poor economy may be a godsend. People who have never considered donating, or weren’t willing to give the time it takes are looking at donation as valuable not only to those who benefit medically, but to their own bank account.

Sarah Johnson, who also donated plasma while she was in college, recently told her husband about it. “At first he was appalled, he thought it was low-class,” she shared. “But once I told him about the money he wanted to do it.”


Johnson used to donate at ZLB Plasma Services at 2978 S. State Street. “I admit that the first time I went in as a 20-year old woman I was nervous about what type of people might be there,” she said, “But after a couple times I wasn’t weirded out by the people, and I saw how safe the whole process was.”

If you are thinking about checking into plasma donation, here are a few quick facts that may help:

You could make up to $500: Many local plasma centers have just increased their payments to up to $65 per donation. If you donate twice a week, that’s $520 a month.

  • Not everyone can donate: The most common reasons someone will be unable to donate are low iron in the blood (anemia), recent tattoos, exposure to infectious diseases like Hepatitis.
  • It doesn’t hurt: Everything is handled by medical professionals, and other than the typical discomfort of having a foreign object in your arm, there is no pain.
  • It helps to be prepared: Drinking plenty of water and eating some healthy foods like fruits and vegetables the day before you donate will build up your body to better recover from your donation.
  • Stay away from alcohol: Both before and after donating, is it best to avoid alcohol, as Maher says on his site, “It might seem like fun to get a 4-martini buzz on just one, but it could mess you up for days.”

Other resources to check out:


Reader Comments

Stephen Gaines

I doubt if you will publish my comment but here is my comment. The plasma that is bought by these plasma centers does not go to your local hospitals to save that person who needs 50 units of blood. The FDA does not allow blood centers (United Blood Services, Red Cross, etc…) from paying for blood or blood products that are given directly to the people in need. You need to research deeper and you will see that this plasma is not used like you reported. If it is being bought by the place then they do not have a license or contract to give that product to any american hospital.

Rondalyn Halm

I used to give plasma in Chatnooga Tennessee. Now im back home in Michigan. I know it helps save lives, but it also helps when your having trouble finding a job and stuff..

John Petersen USA Red Cross

The american red cross may make it a policy not to pay for donations, but I for one am layed off with 3 children and unemployment doesn’t even pay my food bill. I am not dishonest when I answer my questions regarding my social habits or medications ect. I can use the extra cash. 20.00 or 25.00 buys milk, bread, eggs, and juice. If that trade off is not worth the american red cross compensation effort then others just like me will continue to go to plasma centers and the ARC should stop complaining about it’s loss of donations.

re: Ginger Gottschalk

Nothing wrong with donating plasma for money but donors should know that their blood may be used to help hemophiliacs and other people who experience coagulation problems. Plasma products are also used to assist burn victims . Additionally, plasma is valuable in medical research, helping to create treatments for diseases that attack the immune system. But sometimes research includes the development of commercial products, like cosmetics. When you donate plasma for money, the center will inform you that your plasma can be used for many purposes. You do not retain any control over how your plasma is used.

they said donate twice a week not just per donation lets pay attention people
Unknown 8/27
there is nowhere in the sl valley that pays $65 per donation. didn’t anyone bother to fact check??
Unknown 6/19
Did you read the story, it didn’t say per donation. It said per week.
Unknown 7/17
Agreed, ridiculous claims like that do nothing but cause confusion and set people up for a false se… More »
Unknown 7/10
FYI: Any plasma donated for money cant be used to “help save lives” its against the law.

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