Sep 282003
Authors: Stephanie Lindberg

Some students have found donating plasma to be an easy way to

make some extra money while helping save a few lives in the


Depending on weight, students can make at least $15 a week from

donating plasma.

“I come (donate) three, maybe four times, a month,” said Desiree

Jo Duncan, a senior English major. “It’s pretty quick and easy.

I’ve been doing it about a year and the process has changed. It’s a

lot faster.”

Keith Frank, a sophomore technical journalism student, said he

donates twice a week.

“It’s extra money that helps out,” Frank said. “A bunch of my

friends have started too.”

Kyle Kersting, a sophomore business student, has not done plasma

donation but his roommates have. He said he would consider it as an

option for extra cash.

“Why not? It’s easy money,” Kersting said.

Dr. Steve Matthews, at Hartshorn Health Services said he has not

donated plasma before, but he thinks it is not a bad idea for

students to consider.

“It’s a way that students can make a few bucks,” Matthews said.

“I believe it’s a well-regulated industry. I don’t know of any

chronic problems that result. Short of a needle stick, it’s

probably painless.”

Needles are one reason Allison Miller would prefer not to go

through the process.

“I have a thing about needles,” Miller said. “It’d take a lot of

convincing. I’m more of a donating person.”

ZLB Plasma Services, 1228 W. Elizabeth St., has been operating

for seven years. Lekshmi Paniker, the center manager, said in an

e-mail that the Fort Collins facility is licensed by the Food and

Drug Administration and has been operating for seven years.

Plasma has a variety of uses in medical care. Paniker said

plasma uses include treating hemophiliacs, stabilizing burn, trauma

and surgery patients and protecting these patients against serious


Blood is made of both a cellular and liquid portion.

“The cellular portion contains white blood cells that fight

infection, red blood cells that carry oxygen and platelets that aid

clotting,” Paniker said. “Plasma is the liquid portion of your

blood. When you donate plasma, you only donate the liquid portion

of whole blood. You can donate plasma more frequently than whole

blood because your body replenishes plasma faster.”

The plasma donation process, called plasmapheresis, allows the

liquid portion of the blood to be extracted while returning the

cellular portion to the donor’s body. The process takes about 45

minutes, Paniker said.

There are a few qualifications that donors must meet. A donor

must be between the ages of 18 and 59 and weigh at least 110

pounds. First-time donors must have proof of residency within 125

miles of the donation facility. A Social Security or Immigration

and Naturalization Service card and a photo ID are also


“New donors receive a mini-physical and a complete medical

history is taken,” Paniker said. “Each time a donor comes in, they

sign in at the reception desk and show a photo ID; they are briefly

interviewed and vital signs are checked.”

All plasma is screened for various diseases including tests for

opiates, hepatitis B and C, syphilis and HIV.

Depending on weight, donors can make $15 to $20 for every

donation, Paniker said. Donations can be made twice during the

course of seven days.

As for the benefits of donating, Matthews said he sees both

sides of the issue.

“On one hand it’s a nice way to get money,” Matthews said.

“(Should you be) giving out of your heart to help your fellow man

or should you be paying people, I don’t know. You can be reassured

that what your doing to helping someone.”







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