You may have heard about plasma donation centers that pay money for donations. Not all plasma donations are paid – community blood centers such as the American Red Cross and most hospital-based facilities are supplied by volunteer donors, just like for whole blood.

While donating plasma definitely fulfills a need and extra money is tempting, it is important to be informed of both the advantages and disadvantages of this system. Paid centers often advertise among students, needy populations, and others who can benefit from a little extra cash in their pockets. Hospitals, Red Cross units, and nonprofit agencies relying on voluntary donations reject the plasma-center model because cash incentives for whole blood may give donors an incentive to lie, heightening risks of a tainted supply. Such risks are higher overall for whole blood too.

Despite this assumption, plasma and all blood products undergo rigorous testing before it is given to a patient, although the risk is never zero. 

Advantages and Disadvantages of Paid Plasma Donations

Donating plasma can have both advantages and disadvantages. Some of the advantages include:

  • Plasma donation can improve overall health.
  • It allows people to help others.
  • Plasma donation is a relatively safe process.
  • It helps people with medical needs.
  • Blood plasma is financially helpful to donors.

However, there are also some disadvantages to donating plasma. Some of these include:

  • Possible side effects of donating plasma include dehydration, vein damage, fainting, and fatigue.
  • The process can be very uncomfortable.
  • Donating plasma can take a lot of time.
  • There is a risk of having serious health problems by donating plasma.

It’s important to weigh the pros and cons before deciding whether to donate plasma for money. If you do decide to donate plasma, make sure you are aware of the risks and take steps to minimize them.

Karen Stockdale, RN, has more than 20 years experience in healthcare. She is also a medical and technical writer and editor.