Get Paid For Plasma by RandyBullock


									                                                                                Amanda Youngman
                                                                                17 September 2007

       Empty pocketbooks run rampant on college campuses. Undergrads have synonymously

always been broke as a joke, and as a result, eager to “make bank.” While some students turn to

retail or restaurants to earn much-needed-money, many turn to plasma donation centers for quick

cash. BioLife Plasma Services on Lucy Drive sees serves numerous James Madison University

students on a typical day. With all this hype for plasma donation it is important to understand the

ins-and-outs of the plasma process.

       To understand plasma donation, one must understand what plasma is. If you think it has

something to do with blood, you are on the right track. Plasma is the liquid component of blood;

it is ninety percent water and the color of straw. According to The Franklin Institute, plasma

contains many dissolved salts and minerals such as calcium, sodium, and potassium. Antibodies,

which are proteins used by the immune system to fight off infection are also found in plasma

(The Franklin Institute, 2007). Plasma helps maintain blood pressure and carries vital proteins

that help with blood clotting at wound sites. In essence, plasma is like the water in a stream; if it

dries up, everything dies.

       So if everyone has plasma, how come people can get paid for donating theirs? The Puget

Sound Blood Center [PSBC] in Seattle, Washington states that “plasma is frequently needed by

trauma patients, burn victims and others fighting serious illness and injury” (PSBC, 2006). Since

plasma cannot be recreated in a lab, many lives depend on donations. Blood plasma is also

extremely useful in the care of hemophilia, a disorder wherein blood cannot clot. Furthermore,

donated plasma may be utilized by research institutes to develop new treatments for diseases that

attack the immune system.
       Now that you understand what plasma is and how it is used, you may have decided that

you want to donate. “Plasma apheresis” is the process used to collect plasma from individuals.

Apheresis simply means that only certain components of the blood are collected. When one

donates plasma whole blood is removed from the body. Red blood cells and plasma are separated

outside of the body, the plasma is retained, and the rest of the blood components are returned to

the body.

       BioLife Plasma Services explains the plasma collection process on their website:

On an initial visit, and annually, individuals receive a physical exam and vital signs are taken.

This is to ensure that participants are healthy enough to proceed with donation. On each visit

thereafter a staff member will take note of any health changes since the previous visit. The first

visit will take about two hours due to the physical exam, and subsequent donation sessions will

last about one and a half hours. Most people spend the time napping, reading, or listening to

music (BioLife, 2004). One can expect to pocket about twenty to thirty dollars for each visit.

       The process is considered safe since new, sterile materials are used for every single visit.

As far as frequency of donations, BioLife states that an individual can donate plasma up to two

times in a seven-day period with at least forty-hours between each donation (BioLife, 2004). The

body replenishes plasma levels within twenty-four hours. As for the recipient, screening tests for

HIV, Hepatitis B and C, and other disorders are performed on each plasma donation.

       The bottom line is that plasma donation helps save lives. If you are broke and need to

make money, take note. Plasma donation may help you pay for rent, books, or even a hot date.

However, if you suffer from belonephobia, be cautious. Plasma donation without needles is


BioLife Plasma Centers. (2004). Frequently Asked Questions About Donating Plasma. Retrieved

       September 16, 2007 from

The Franklin Institute. (2007). Plasma: The Importance of Plasma. Retrieved September 16,

       2007 from

Puget Sound Blood Center. (2006). Donating Apheresis Plasma. Retrieved September 16, 2007


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