Who couldn’t use some extra blood, er, plasma money?
If you read my previous article on donating plasma through Biolife Plasma Services, you know that I have been making some extra money donating plasma. I want to give an update about the pros and cons that I have experienced during my donation process so that you can make an informed decision about getting some extra “blood money”. I have pretty much been donating twice a week on Mondays and Saturdays (you can’t donate more than twice during any 7 day period) because that gives my arms plenty of time to heal. I probably won’t keep this donation rotation up on a regular basis as sitting in the donation chair for about an hour at a time can get a little monotonous even if you have your cellphone to play with and/or watch movies. It is serving its purpose for now and I am happy to get the extra spending cash.
1. You can usually earn up to $240.00 a month if you donate all 8 eligible times. It is a decent amount of extra scratch that can be used to pay bills, save for the future or maybe upgrade your cell phone to the next best thing.
2. The website makes scheduling donation times a breeze and you can usually get in very quickly to donate at your appointed time. If you check the website about 2 days before your donation you can usually get the donation time you want.
3. They do a very good job of taking your vitals and getting you processed for donating very quickly. It can usually be done within 5 minutes or so after you answer your computerized questionnaire.
4. The machine that they use can quickly process the plasma out of your blood (through a disposable centrifuge) and return the blood back to you while keeping the plasma. The process is automated and usually works flawlessly.
5. Once you have been “stuck” by a needle in your arm you will be given credit for a donation no matter what...even if you can’t donate that day. So at least you know you are getting paid even if you didn’t give plasma.
6. The payment process is quick and simple. The money you earn from a donation is credited to your debit card immediately after your donation and you can go and spend it right then if you want. They also give you the option of “checking out” so you can make another appointment. However, this check-out process is not required and you will still get paid even if you forget.
7. Even though a large corporation is collecting your plasma so they can process it and resell it for a hefty profit, your donation is still doing a world of good. There are many people in America (and the rest of the world) that require weekly therapies for various disorders such as Hemophilia that use your plasma to improve the quality of their lives. When you donate you will directly benefit one (or several) of these people.
8. The facility is very clean and the employees are always very friendly. I was told by one of the workers that they average about 400 people per day at the Austin facility and they always give the impression of being a well oiled machine. I have never had an issue with the cleanliness of the facility or an employee. If I did have an issue, I have no doubt that it would be taken care of.
9. I have never worried about any of the other people donating possibly causing a problem. They do a great job of screening the bad seeds and they never make it to the donation floor with you.
10. The Biolife facility close to me is very easy to access from the highway and has a generous amount of parking spaces. I have never had an issue with finding a parking space or had anything happen to my vehicle while I was donating.
1. If you are able to make it all 8 times to donate during any one month your arms are probably going to pay the price. You will have visible needle marks on both arms and possible bruising from a hematoma that can develop under your skin. If your arm develops a bruise, you can’t use that arm for donation until it disappears.
2. If you make an appointment to donate you must make sure that you arrive ten minutes before or ten minutes after your scheduled time. If you miss your appointment, the computer will pick another appointment time if possible. If there isn’t one available you will not be able to donate that day.
3. When you go in to get your vitals checked they are making sure that you aren’t sick, a junkie or have recently donated with another company. You will also have to get your finger pricked so that your iron and protein levels can be checked. If they are not at acceptable levels (they usually send you to the onsite nurse if there is a question) you will be deferred from donating that day. If you are deferred too many times, you will no longer be allowed to donate.
4. Some people just don’t have a good “flow” coming out of their veins and you are required to pump your fist when the cuff around your arm tightens. The machine has green, yellow and red light indicators on it to show how the flow is going. If you can’t manage to get the yellow lights to turn green it could add to the time that it takes to complete a donation.
5. Just like with any job the experience (or competence) level of the phlebotomists that insert the IV into your arm can have a wide variance. You will come across some that can get the IV started correctly each time and others not so much. You might even experience some pain as they have to slightly move the needle around inside of your arm if it is not inserted correctly.
6. The debit card that they give you to have your donation funds put on has some hidden fees such as not being able to withdraw from a Chase Bank ATM more than once for free. The first withdrawal is free but the rest are going to cost you.
7. They have a system that is based on you donating two times in a Monday through Saturday week. You always get $20.00 on the first donation and $30.00 or $40.00 on the second donation. If you are only able to donate one time each week, the maximum you will earn in a month is $80.00.
The meat of the potatoes
Overall, I would say that my experience donating more than 10 times with Biolife has been pretty uneventful. The majority of the donations have gone quickly and smoothly without any complaints on my part. I have had some minor bruising on my arms on two different occasions but they healed quickly and without any real pain. I am going to continue going for the perceivable future because I have enjoyed the extra money and it is an easy way to get it.
Important: Always remember to drink water on the night before your donation. This will make it easier for them to find a vein and make the donation process go easier. Also, never drink coffee or eat sweets on the day of your donation. If your pulse is above 100 you will not be allowed to donate.
Picture credit : Biolife .com