OSU students donate plasma for extra cash
Students can earn more than $100 for four donations
Published: Thursday, April 26, 2007
Updated: Saturday, June 16, 2012 00:06
While some Ohio State students are busy working part-time jobs to bring in extra cash, others are sitting with a needle in their arm for an hour and getting paid to donate plasma.
Lacy Taylor, who graduated from OSU in December with a degree in human development and family science, has donated plasma about 15 times.
"It was during my freshman and sophomore years when I was living in the dorms ... I did it just for extra spending money," she said.
Shelly Heckert, manager of Bio-Blood Components Inc. in Columbus, said anyone who donates for the first time will receive $120 for their first four donations combined.
After that, the amount varies depending on how much plasma is donated.
Cash is dispensed on the spot every time a donor completes the process.
Heckert said plasma is used every day in medical laboratories for research and to make common vaccines. It is also used on burn victims to help replenish skin cells.
The process of donating plasma is complex and donors must go through a physical examination and numerous screening questions before they are approved to donate, Heckert said.
Once a donor is approved, the process gets even trickier.
A needle is used to remove the blood from the body. The blood then goes into a machine that separates the plasma from the rest of the blood. The plasma goes into a separate bottle, while the rest of the blood goes back into the donor's arm.
This cycle repeats as many times as necessary to get a full donation.
Heckert said the amount of time it takes depends on the individual, but it is usually between 50 minutes and an hour and 15 minutes.
"Once the donation is finished (donors) are given a liter of normal saline, which helps them replenish some of the nutrients lost by the donation," she said.
Because the red blood cells are replaced and the saline solution helps replenish lost nutrients, plasma can be donated twice weekly.
There are, however, some minor side effects.
Jim Beckman, a junior in business, donated plasma once and will never do it again.
"I heard it was like giving blood, and if I could make a little money doing it, I figured I'd give it a try," he said.
Beckman completed the donation process and got his money, but said he got a weird, numb feeling all the way down his arm.
"I'm glad I tried it because I had been curious about it, but it just wasn't for me," he said.
Heckert said other possible side effects may include dizziness, localized pain or chilliness from receiving the saline, but most people have no problems.
"The process is not that painful, and in college there aren't many jobs where you can come in and get paid $25 an hour," she said.
Lindsay Betz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.