Blood Money


Last Saturday, my wife and I did something we’ve never done before; we sold our plasma at BioLife Plasma Center.

We aren’t down on our luck or anything. We both have great jobs and a solid budget and all of our bills get paid. But there was a deal advertised in one of those coupon magazines that pulled us in. “$120 for 3 donations”. Who would turn down money like that? Not us.

At first, my wife didn’t believe me that I wanted to do it. I have something of a history with avoiding needles. In fact, for the last 15 years or so, whenever I need to get a filling at the dentist, I ask them not to numb me since they use shots to do it. Instead, I just grip the chair real hard and try to ignore any pain as that evil drill whines away in my mouth and bits of tooth fly everywhere.

So when I suggested that I’d like to donate plasma in exchange for money, my wife thought I was joking. I assured her that I wanted to do it and set up an initial visit while my wife arranged for childcare.

I don’t know what I was expecting when I walked into the plasma center, but it was nothing like what I saw. Upon arrival, there were tons of people waiting around for their opportunity to give. We checked in with the front desk and they started getting us into their system. We did an in-depth health survey and met with a medical person for a brief physical. Then after getting our finger’s poked and having our blood analyzed to see if we were healthy enough to give, we were ushered to a room out of science fiction.

The room was filled with dozens of hospital-like chair-bed-things where people were hooked up by tubes to machines while they read books, talked on their phones, and watched movies on their tablet computers. I wouldn’t have been surprised if once the process of filling their blood bags was complete, the chair tipped backward and the occupant fell through a trap door into the soylent green processing plant. Okay, maybe that would have surprised me, but my point is that it was pretty surreal.

But probably the most surprising thing about the experience was that it wasn’t bad at all. My phlebotomist (person who sticks the needle into your vein) did a great job and getting the needle in my arm hurt less than getting my finger pricked to make sure that I was eligible. The process of extracting my blood took a little over an hour, then after we ate some Goldfish crackers and drank some water, we were free to go.

We got $30 apiece for our time and plasma on this visit. Next time, we’ll get $40 and the third time, we’ll get $50 each. The money will supplement some areas of our budget that we usually put off (like buying new shoes and clothes), which is nice. I only wish I would have started doing this sooner.

Do you have any thoughts on selling plasma? Have you ever done it yourself?


6 thoughts on “Blood Money

  1. Josh, you said plasma, but if they didn’t put your red platelets back into you thru the IV, you sold your blood, from which they will extract plasma so it is universal. Mark did the 2x weekly when we were in college. If they keep the red blood and don’t give you back the platelets you have to wait 6 weeks before another donation. He does not donate blood any longer because he arms veins are so scarred up from those hard times plasma sells. It was our grocery money at the time. And yes it is very surreal. I only survived once. Normally my hemoglobin too low to allow donation. Yes I agree that razor finger is worse than a good vampires needle placement.

  2. This is interesting timing–yesterday I picked up a few issues of Mother Earth Living from the library. Usually I try to keep my MEL reading to a minimum because it makes me want to grow out my underarm hair and also own a flock of goats. These things both make my husband very nervous to think about, so our marriage is better if I stay away from the dirty hippies.

    TO MY POINT–there was an excellent article about a family in Wisconsin who has been slowly reducing their expenses over about 20 years, so now they are able to live on about $10,00 a year (two parents, one child). They earn incomes from a little farming, a little dirty-hippie consulting, and I don’t know what else.

    Of course I started to wonder if Eric and I could do the same, but what would we do for income? Now I know–maybe we could sell our plasma.

  3. Pingback: I am into good ideas, not poor executions. | Josh Mosey | Writer

  4. Pingback: I am the man with the plan (and sometimes that gets me into trouble). | Josh Mosey | Writer

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