I make about $6,500 by donating plasma over 100 times a year, but I’m not doing it for the money

Plasma can be donated more often than blood.Pavel Peskov/EyeEm/Getty Images

  • Patrick Herdener donates plasma twice a week and earns between $50 and $70 per donation.

  • That means he typically donates plasma 104 times a year and makes about $6,500 before taxes.

  • Herdener said he started giving for money, but the spirit of helpfulness now motivates him.

This essay is based on a conversation with Patrick Herdener, who lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma and donates plasma twice a week. He receives between $50 and $70 per donation, which Insider has confirmed through documents. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.

To be honest, when I first started donating plasma, my main motivation was money. I was in my 20s, unemployed and paying rent.

My best friend at the time told me about plasma donation, where I could make money by having a machine filter plasma from my blood. Back then, I think the pay was about $30 per session. I would walk just enough to pay the bills as I was single with no family.

But now I take it much more seriously. I go twice a week, usually Wednesdays and Fridays, every week of the year.

These days I come home with between $55 and $70 for each session. They pay me $55 on Wednesdays and $70 on Fridays. It adds up to about $6,500 a year before taxes.

But that’s not my main income. I mainly use it to buy birthday and Christmas gifts for my wife and kids. And to replace parts on my mountain bike. I break a lot of parts.

I started donating more often once I found out where my plasma was going. My plasma donation center, operated by CSL Plasma, has put up a sign listing the diseases and disorders that can be treated with plasma, such as hemophilia or immunodeficiency.

They put up another sign about two to three years ago. Each month it features a new photo of someone being treated for one of these conditions. It’s actually quite nice – makes it a bit more personal.

Headshot by Patrick Herdener

Patrick Herdener has been donating plasma twice a week for 13 years.Patrick Herdener

I’ve been donating twice a week for 13 years. The only time I took a break during that time was when the machine that was filtering my blood broke during a session.

The bowl of my blood was full and had just begun to swirl plasma when it suddenly broke. I immediately lost a bowlful of blood – not just my plasma, but the red blood cells as well.

I was fine. I still went to work and then rode my bike home. They also gave me a full payout.

But I had to wait 58 days to replenish the lost blood. You cannot donate if you run out of blood. It could send you to the ER if you try.

Apart from this one incident, my winning streak is unbroken.

The nurses use an 18 gauge needle to draw my blood. There is only one vein in my arm large enough for this gauge of needle. So I switch arms so my scar tissue doesn’t get too thick. I also use a vitamin E gel to help heal my skin and reduce scarring.

The pain is usually not too bad. It depends on the person holding you. For some people, the pain is no worse than when donating blood. With others you feel nothing.

The process usually takes 49-55 minutes. On a lucky day it only took me 35 minutes, but that was unique. I can’t replicate it no matter what I change.

To keep the process fast, I stay away from most pork products and eat cheese in moderation. These foods increase the level of fat in my blood, which can clog the filter in the machine.

When the filter is clogged, what normally takes 49 minutes becomes 2 hours. My arm ends up hurting from the elbow to the fingers.

I also drink a gallon of water daily. It’s important to stay hydrated so you don’t get groggy.

I would encourage others to donate plasma if they can. It’s just an hour of your day, and it’s really helping people. You might even find an interesting conversation with other donors or the nurses while you’re at it.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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