Is it worth the risk? The subject of plasma donations.

If you haven’t heard about this get cash quick method before, then let me tell you now. The Red Cross organization will pay you to not donate blood, but to give them blood plasma. It is a popular method for many college students to get some extra cash, while not affecting their busy schedules. According to Octapharma plasma, the Food and drug administration allows you to donate twice every seven days, given there are at least two days between the initial donation day. Of course with anything like this, there are short term side-effects such as dizziness, or nausea. But what are the long term effects that we here about and are they really worth it. Before we continue we have to talk about what plasma is first.

According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, plasma is a light yellow fluid that makes up 55 percent of blood content. It serves as the medium that helps move hormones, enzymes, salts and nutrients, along with red and white blood cells through the circulatory system ( University of Rochester Medical Center Health Encyclopedia, What is Plasma).Donating plasma is similar to donating blood, except instead of collecting both red blood cells and plasma, the plasma is filtered using a machine called a cell separator through a process called plasmapheresis. After the blood and plasma are separated, the blood is returned to the body, while plasma  is collected.

HARBURG, GERMANY - JUNE 08: A man donates blood plasma at the blood donation service Hamburg on June 8, 2011 in Harburg, Germany. Hospitals and the Red Cross in northern Germany have appealed to the public for blood donations as a result of the current outbreak of enterohemorrhagic E. coli, also known as the EHEC bacteria. With at least 2,200 people afflicted by the infection, and approximately 500 suffering from the HUS complication from EHEC that attacks the kidneys, hospitals have seen an explosive growth in their need for donated blood plasma. The EHEC outbreak has thus far killed at least 22 people in Europe's deadliest recorded outbreak of E. coli. (Photo by Joern Pollex/Getty Images)

So what are the long term problems of donating plasma? The first long term risk that you face from donating plasma is that you face more of a chance of getting sick due to lower immunoglobulin levels. According to the Asia-Pacific Economics blog, it can be sen that there is a 10 percent reduction in the antibodies that prevent illness from occurring. To me, as a college student this would put me off the idea is mainly because of this reason. Over time, we generally more and more able to become sick, which means more class that we would have to miss because of being sick. Other issues that are involved with plasma donations include increases scaring of the veins, and increased chances of a vein collapsing.

These are some of the things that have to be considered when thinking about donating plasma. While it is for a good cause, you should never let money be a higher priority than you health.


Dangers of Donating Plasma | HRFnd. (n.d.)., from
Plasmapheresis with hemodialysis equipment – UpToDate. (n.d.). , from
Pros and Cons of Donating Plasma | (n.d.). Retrieved October 21, 2016, from
What Is Plasma? | Univeristy of Rochester Medical Center. (n.d.)., from

2 thoughts on “Is it worth the risk? The subject of plasma donations.

  1. Devon Buono

    I enjoyed the post, but felt that it lacked some major elements. One important thing you had forgot to mention was an experiment done testing the question you brought forward. I found an experiment (, that helps answer the question. An observational study was conducted by the distribution of questionnaires to 17 blood donation centers. Each survey asked about 32 specific side affects caused by donating. The researchers wanted to know if this type of donation can cause health problems down the road. They got over 19,000 responses, and analyzed the data. At the end, they concluded that there are no long term affects brought about from this form plasma donations. They even found that unconsciousness induced by donating is more common in the original form of whole-blood donation, rather than plasma cell donations. Besides the experiment, I feel like you did a good job. You brought up the relationship between donating, and increasing the chance of getting sick. On top of stating the 10% increase, you also said that the students here are already more susceptible to getting sick. I feel like you did a great job connecting it all back to your everyday life. It was a good, thought provoking blog.

  2. zvk5072

    This was an interesting blog topic. I didn’t/don’t know anything about plasma donations but it is interesting that people can get paid for giving these. Its also really interesting that donating plasma can lower your immune system. I do think that given all the sicknesses that go around Penn State, it might not be worth it at the moment to take some strength away from the immune system. I found this interesting op-ed from Indiana University’s student newspaper about donating plasma: Nice work on this post, very interesting topic.

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