Donating plasma can help save lives, but some students say they do it for another reason — the money. Community Biolife Plasma, a plasma center at 101 Lake Pointe Drive, Oshkosh Wisconsin, pays first-time donors $20, and $30 on each subsequent visit.
How to Qualify for Plasma Donation in WI
WI plasma donation laws state that potential donors must pass a basic physical, HIV test and drug screening. They must weigh more than 100 pounds and be at least 18 years old. The tests take about an hour and are done on the first visit, says Laura Humphrey, assistant manager of Community Bio-Resources.
About 35 percent of the center's donors are students, Humphrey said. Senior David Bragg said he donates plasma for the financial benefits. "I do it for the money," Bragg said. "If I'm helping save lives, that's just part of getting paid."
Other Oshkosh Plasma Donation Centers
The Community Blood Center, 2211 Oregon St., does not pay donors, but it transfers plasma to patients in area hospitals free of charge. Donated plasma is made into injections used to treat a number of diseases and medical conditions, ranging from hemophilia to immune deficiencies.
These injections are sold to hospitals at a profit, Humphrey said. Donating plasma is different than donating blood. Plasma is 90 percent water and can replenish itself in eight to nine hours, while blood takes much longer to replenish itself.
Therefore, people can donate plasma two times in a seven-day period, but can only give blood once every eight weeks. Some donors said they have had bad experiences giving plasma. "I've been stabbed, had bruises and swelling in my arm." Bragg said.
Plasma Phlebotomist Training in Oshkosh WI
Plasma center employees go through a gradual three-month training. They practice drawing plasma on other staff members and their trainer. Humphrey said. "For the most part they are very good, but once in a while you will get someone who is just beginning," Bragg said.
Junior Park Roelse said he experienced swelling and bruising the first time he donated plasma. "It was pure pain. I'll never go back again," Roelse said. Donating plasma is safe, Humphrey said. If an accident happens and plasma is not taken, donors still get paid for their time, she said.