Want to donate blood for money? You’ll help people while helping yourself.

Did you know that the blood you usually donate is then sold? Yes, although they are often non-profits, the Red Cross and other blood banks often act as businesses, asking you to give a product that they turn around and sell. The Red Cross alone sells about $2 billion worth of blood each year. Part of the money these organizations gain from selling your blood is used to cover the costs of blood testing and processing and the salaries of people who help do this work on a daily basis. However, if you didn’t realize your donated blood is being sold, you may find this new information surprising.

Every time you donate blood, you give a pint of blood. A single pint of blood sells for $180 – $300. That may be more than you earn in an entire day of work!

With this said, you don’t have to give your blood away and then let a company get paid instead of you. At many blood banks, you can ask to receive payment for the blood you donate. It’s still considered a donation, you’re just earning a reward for donating.

If you still want to give away your blood once a year when the truck rolls around to your office building or school, by all means. But for the other times, donate your blood for money. This article shows you where to go, how to donate (sell), how much you can get paid, what it’s like to give blood, if blood money is considered taxable income, and more.

In This Article

How Much Money Can You Make by Donating Your Blood (Plasma)?

People usually talk about donating blood, but it’s what’s in your blood that matters – plasma. When you donate, it’s actually the plasma most blood banks want.  Plasma is about 90% water (pretty cool getting paid to donate water) salts, enzymes, antibodies, and proteins. You can legally donate plasma as often as twice per week, but some blood banks may have a stricter limit.

The prices for donating plasma varies. It’s safe to assume you’ll receive $30 per donation, but prices range anywhere from $10 to $60 per donation. By donating blood (plasma), you could make a maximum of $500 per month. That’s $6,000 per year! However, don’t depend on that number. It’s safer to assume $240 per month. You can’t make donating plasma your full-time job, but you can get some extra money by donating regularly. Getting paid is easy – blood banks pay you right after you donate blood, either via cash or prepaid debit card.  

How Much Money Can You Make if You Have a Rare Blood Type?

As a rule, all blood types (A, B, AB, and O) are paid the same amount. However, there is one exception. Rh-negative blood is much rarer than Rh-positive blood. If you have Rh-negative blood, you’ll often be paid more than Rh-positive donors.

People Who Cannot Donate Blood for Money

If you are between the ages of 18 and 65 and weigh more than 110 pounds, you’ve met the first two requirements for donating blood for money. However, you are ineligible to donate blood for the time being if you:

Have certain medical conditions:

  • Are HIV-positive
  • Have had hepatitis since your 11th birthday
  • Have had babesiosis or Chagas’ disease
  • Have risk factors for or a blood relative with Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, “mad cow disease.”

Have taken certain medications:

  • Are on a blood clotter
  • Have taken etretinate (Tegison) for psoriasis
  • Are on isotretinoin, a drug used to treat severe acne, commonly referred to as Accutane, Claravis, Amnesteem, Absorica, Myorisan, Zenatane.
  • Have ever had drug injections not prescribed by a doctor (think illegal injection drugs or steroids)

Have certain travel experiences:

  • Have visited a malaria-risk country recently. See the Center for Disease Control’s website for specific details if you have traveled or lived in a malaria-risk country. In general, if you have traveled anywhere outside of the United States and Canada, you’ll likely have to provide details of your trip.
  • Have received a blood transfusion in the UK or France between 1980 and present
  • Have spent significant time outside of the country recently

Fall into one of these other categories:

  • Have exchanged sex for money or drugs
  • Have had sex with another man within the past year.
  • Have gotten a tattoo or piercing in the last 12 months in one of these states: District of Columbia, Georgia, Idaho, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, Utah, and Wyoming.

Where Can You Donate Blood for Money?

There are many places throughout the United States where you can donate blood. Here is a list of the most common blood donation companies that have locations throughout the U.S. Each center may have slightly different rules about age requirements and additional medical requirements such as brief physical exams or drug tests – in case you were wondering about these requirements, we’ve also included them in our list for you.  

BioLife Plasma

Biotest Plasma

BPL Plasma

CSL Plasma

GCAM Plasma, Inc.

GRIFOLS

ImmunoTek Bio Centers, LLC

Interstate Blood and Plasma Inc. / Plasma Biological Services, Inc.

KEDPlasma, LLC

Octapharma Plasma, Inc.

Southern Blood Services (locations in Alabama and Tennessee)

Besides this list, there are many local and regional places. To uncover these, simply Google “places to donate blood near me.” Hospitals and medical schools are hotspots for donation so if they are suggested, don’t be surprised.

You’ve Decided to Donate Your Blood for Money – What Should You Expect?

Once you’ve chosen a place you want to donate your blood for money – either from our list above or from your own google search – make an appointment, bring your ID, and show up. It’s that simple. Here are answers to some common questions you may have about what to expect:

Do You Need to Do Anything Special Beforehand?

  • Eat a healthy meal before arriving. Stay away from too many fats. Also, drink two extra glassfuls of water.

How Long Will It Take in Total?

  • First time: About two hours, since you’ll have to fill out pre-screening paperwork and do a physical exam.
  • Return visits: Typically 1.5 hours (but up to three hours depending on wait time, blood flow speed, etc.)

How Long Will the Needle Be in Your Arm?

  • Blood donation: Usually 5-15 minutes, maximum 30 minutes.
  • Plasma donation: 30-55 minutes (because when you donate plasma, the plasma gets taken out and the rest of your blood is then returned back into your body ). You can read a book, play games on your phone, watch TV, or do anything else to entertain yourself while you sit and wait.

Will It Hurt or Leave a Scar?

  • Pain:  When the needle is inserted, you may feel some initial discomfort. To help alleviate any initial pain, just wiggle your fingers or squeeze a stress relief ball. Once the needle is in, you shouldn’t feel any pain.
  • Scars: Donating blood does not leave scars because the time between donations is enough for your body to regenerate to “like new” condition.

What Should You Do Afterwards?

  • Right after: Right after your donation, you may feel a bit dizzy. Make sure to eat some food, drink plenty of water, and relax for a bit after you donate blood. Most donation centers will usually offer you donuts, cookies, juice, water, and other tasty treats to help you re-energize after your donation!
  • Following days: Continue to drink lots of water. Leave your bandage on for at least 4-5 hours after your blood draw. If your arm is a bit sore, you can take acetaminophen or ice the area. You should feel completely normal in a day or two – or even sooner.
  • Rare side effects: Although it’s very rare, some people do experience more prolonged side effects from donating blood. If you experience any of the following, get in touch with the blood center right away:
    • Feeling dizzy, lightheaded or nauseous after resting, eating and drinking
    • Pain or a tingling sensation in your arm or into your fingers
    • Pain, unusual bleeding, or a raised bump at the needle-stick site
    • Symptoms of the flu or a cold, such as fever, sore throat, or headache within four days of giving blood. These can be signs of bacterial infection, which can be transmitted through blood. You’ll want to alert the blood donor center so they know not to use your blood.

Final Thoughts: Is Selling Blood Taxable Income?

We cannot find an official statement from the IRS. However, the consensus from blood banks is that since you’re “donating” it’s not taxable income. If your donation is considered taxable at any point (like if you began earning thousands per year), then your blood bank must get your social security number and send you a W-9.  But if this doesn’t happen, don’t worry about it. You’re doing a good thing by donating and you probably won’t ever have to pay taxes on it.

In Summary

Now that you know how to donate blood for money, you can help out everyone involved. And enjoy some free cookies.  If you’re a good candidate for blood donation, you can earn up to $500 a month and help yourself while also helping someone else. It’s a win-win.