Donating Plasma


Well-Known Member
I've recently fallen on some tough times instructing due to the poor winter weather and the economy. Aside from picking up a night job, I was thinking about "donating" plasma at a medical center across the street from my apartment. They pay $40 per visit and allow you to come in twice per week. Of course flying is my priority and I wouldn't do this if it would have the same side effects as donating blood (like the wait period).

I'll be sure to check with my regular AME as well, just wanted some opinions first. Thanks in advance.
A friend I instructed with donated plasma while he was in college for extra money. He has needle scars on both arms now. We always joked that it was from shooting up.
I used to donate plasma twice per week. I have the needle scars to show for it but it was insanely easy money. Don't go in there dehydrated or you will be there forever and may pass out (I passed out twice). The needles are HUGE. Probably the same size as a 12 or 14 gage piercing. I've also been considering donating plasma again. Where I used to go, it was $20 the first time in a week and $25 the second time. If it's $40 per visit now, I'd probably do it.
I donated a few times while I was an FO. I would NOT recommend donating plasma. that place is discusting. Honestly it seems like everyone thats there is going to use that 20 bucks to score so smack! It takes like 2-3 hours, thats not including the wait time before they call you.

And donating plasma isnt the same as donating blood. Donating blood goes to the red cross and is used to save lives. The plasma centers are run by drug companies. They use it to turn a profit.
I'm a controller, not a pilot so the rules might be different but I donated a lot when I first came into the FAA because of financial issues as well. The place I went to was clean and although there were some shady characters donating as well, I never felt unsafe. Also, just because the plasma goes to drug companies and not to the Red Cross doesn't mean you aren't helping someone in need. Read below:

Facts About Plasma

  • It takes 130 plasma donations to manufacture enough therapy to keep one patient with primary immunodeficiency healthy for one year.
  • One liter of plasma yields roughly four grams of immunoglobulin, which is used to manufacture therapies to treat people with immune deficiencies. The average infusion needed for a person with a primary immune deficiency is 35 grams.
  • Albumin, one of the proteins found in plasma, is used to treat patients who have sustained severe burns, trauma, or during major surgery.
  • Serum albumin and fibrin, two proteins found in plasma, have powerful anti-shock and blood clotting effects, and are credited with saving countless lives of soldiers wounded on the battlefield during World War II (WWII). They continue to help wounded soldiers fighting in the war in Iraq today.
  • On average, a plasma donor gives .8 liter of plasma per visit.
  • The largest expense to manufacture plasma protein therapies are direct manufacturing costs (which includes obtaining staring material) – roughly 70 percent of the total cost of the therapy.
  • Plasma-derived therapies and therapies made using recombinant DNA technology are referred to collectively as plasma protein therapies.
  • Plasma protein therapies are used to treat people with diseases like hemophilia, which affects approximately 16,500 people in the U.S.
  • Annually in the U.S., approximately 15 million plasma donations are made in order to meet demand for plasma-derived therapies that treat patients with rare, genetic diseases.
  • Each year in the U.S., roughly 11 million liters of source plasma are donated.
  • 20 million liters of plasma are used worldwide every year to manufacture plasma protein therapies for patients with blood clotting disorders, immune deficiencies or autoimmune or neurological disorders.