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
“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
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
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.”