Many people talk about donating blood to help people who are sick or struggling with an emergency situation, but not many people talk about donating plasma. The simple fact is that there is always a need for plasma in today’s world. When giving a plasma donation, blood is drawn from the individual so that the plasma can be removed from it. Once that occurs, the blood is put back into the person making the donation.
The entire procedure for a plasma donation takes about one hour. The pain involved is similar to that of a blood donation and is often minimal. Are you thinking about making a plasma donation today? Then here are some of the pros and cons to consider before you begin the donation process.
What Are the Pros of Donating Plasma?
1. It can be a good source of extra cash when needed.
Unlike blood donations, plasma donations are often reimbursed with some sort of monetary compensation. It is usually a cash payment, which can be as much as $200 per month if the limit of 2 donations per week are consistently achieved. Other plasma centers may offer gift cards, food certificates, or other items that have a cash value to them.
2. It allows people to help other people.
Plasma is often needed when people are facing a life threatening condition, whether it be from natural causes or natural disasters. By having donations on hand to serve those who need them, many lives can be saved when otherwise they would be lost. Donating plasma is the epitome of people helping other people, even if donations are compensated in some way.
3. It could reduce your risk for some serious diseases.
Although researchers don’t know why this is so, people who regularly donate their plasma are actually at a lower overall risk of cardiovascular disease development later on in life. This may be because of some health requirements that are in place that will automatically screen out certain individuals who are in poor health, but the link is certainly intriguing.
4. Donated blood plasma gives people the chance to survive thanks to the proteins that are in the substance.
Many of the recipients of plasma are either leukemia patients or burn victims. Sometimes people who have had a recent organ transplant may also be given donated plasma. Without this plasma, it would be impossible for them to be able to have their disease or injuries effectively treated. For the thousands of kids that have leukemia diagnosed every year, blood plasma is a lifeline that hasn’t always been available.
5. The process of donating plasma is very safe.
Most people aren’t actually accepted into a plasma donation program. This is because of their overall health condition or lifestyle choices. People who have high blood pressure or other vital signs that aren’t at optimum levels are generally not going to be accepted for plasma donation. This protects their health and potentially the health of the recipient of donated plasma as well.
What Are the Cons of Donating Plasma?
1. It can wear out the body.
Donating plasma occasionally is just as safe as any other donation, but it does wear out the human body after some time. It is not uncommon for someone making regular donations to have their veins collapse or have difficulty in finding a vein that can be used for a donation. This means that some folks may be stuck at their donation center for an unexpected period of time because they won’t be released until they are judged to be in a stable physical condition.
2. Donating plasma can be scary and uncomfortable.
Most people are required to drink two full glasses of water right before the plasma donation begins. This is because the donation process only works if the person donating plasma is fully hydrated. The first donation a person makes also involves a lot of questions that are personal in nature, like a sexual history questionnaire.
3. It could be detrimental to a person’s long term health.
Although a donation here or there isn’t generally going to cause much harm, there is the potential that regular plasma donations could damage long-term health. Researchers have noticed that there can be a 10% reduction in the antibodies that can be produced by the human body when regular plasma donations are occurring.
4. It creates immediate dehydration.
When plasma is being removed from the body, what is generally being taken out from the blood supply is water-based. This means that dehydration can quickly occur during a donation and this may create some side effects like vomiting, dizziness, or fainting because there isn’t enough water left in the body.
5. A donation may remove calcium from the blood supply.
Some plasma donation centers utilize a blood anticoagulant to make the plasma removal process faster and easier. The only problem with this is that the anticoagulant removes the calcium that is in the blood supply. If this calcium isn’t replaced, there may be some short-term and long-term health consequences to the person who has decided to donate their plasma.
6. There are going to be needles.
Let’s face it: some people just don’t like needles. Others don’t like the idea of selling a part of their body for any reason because it feels like a form of prostitution. To properly donate plasma, a needle is generally going to be in the arm for at least 30 minutes. That can be very bothersome to some folks.
Is Donating Plasma Right For You?
Donating plasma is a decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. It is a way to make money when cash is in short supply, but there are some risks that need to be considered as well. Be prepared for an extensive screening process and plan for your first visit to be about two hours in length if you are screened into the program. By evaluating all of the pros and cons of a plasma donation, everyone can decide if they’d like to give it a try.