Students make hundreds of dollars donating plasma

Grifols-owned Biomat USA is a plasma donation center near the BYU campus. Plasma donations have become a popular source of money for BYU students. (Hannah McKinlay)

Donating plasma is well-known among college students for being an easy way to earn some extra cash and several BYU students are taking advantage of the opportunity.

Grifols Biomat USA and Talecris Plasma Resources are popular plasma donation centers for BYU students because of their proximity to campus and student housing. 

According to Grifols’ public affairs director Vlasta Hakes, donors are usually paid $50 per donation. BYU student Cate Ferraro said she has made more than $1,500 from regularly donating plasma at Grifols for the past two years.

“It’s a really good way to get extra money because you get to just sit there for an hour and get paid,” she said. 

Plasma donors are compensated so generously because there is a critical need for plasma. According to the Grifols website, plasma consists mostly of water and a small amount of proteins and antibodies. Those proteins are used to produce medicines to help treat people with a variety of life-threatening diseases and conditions.

Hakes said it takes 130–2,000 donations to make enough medicine to treat one patient for just a year, depending on their condition. 

In addition, most patients require these medicines their whole lives, and these proteins can only be found in the human body. Thus, donation centers offer a substantial incentive to satisfy a large demand.

“I decided to donate plasma because, to be honest, it was just some extra cash,” BYU student and regular plasma donor Katie Russell said. “But I keep doing it because it is a good cause and something you feel good about doing.”

Oftentimes donors even have the option to donate their proceeds to a local charity.

To provide enough plasma, Grifols requests donors to continue to routinely donate over a long-term period. Fortunately, as Hakes pointed out, the human body can easily and quickly regenerate plasma, so donating frequently is feasible for most people.

Plasma centers take multiple measures to ensure the safety of their donors and recipients. For example, Grifols requires new donors to pass a physical examination and health screening to qualify. Donors then undergo an annual physical as they continue to give plasma, as well as a health screening every donation.

For students looking for some pocket money and to greatly impact the lives of others, adopting this lucrative passtime may be the way to go.

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