Short Answer: While some blood donation centers don’t compensate their donors, others — such as BPL Plasma, CSL Plasma, and Octapharma Plasma — allow people to donate blood for money. Earnings vary depending on where you donate and how often, but you can usually earn between $160 and $400 per month or more by making regular donations. Below, we detail the donor restrictions, how much you can earn, where to donate blood, and what to expect from the donation process.
How to Donate Blood for Money
Every time you donate blood, you give roughly one pint — which then sells to a hospital for up to $300. While you won’t earn $300 per pint, you can make money for donating blood at some donation centers. Typically, pay rates range from around $20 to $75 per donation, with some centers offering bonuses for frequent donors or higher rates for new donors (as previously reported).
When you donate blood for money, it’s actually what’s in your blood that matters: plasma. You can legally donate plasma as often as twice per week. Earnings start around $160 per month or $1,920 per year if donating twice per week (based on a center that offers $20 per donation). At the higher end of the range, you can earn around $400 per month or $4,800 per year (based on a center that offers $50 per donation).
With bonuses or at a center that pays more than $50 per donation, you may be able to earn $500 per month or more. However, note that your earnings will vary greatly depending on where you go and how often. Some centers even offer varying rates per donation — for example, a higher rate for your second donation of the week.
All blood types (A, B, AB, and O) are paid the same amount, with one exception: if you have Rh-negative blood, you may earn more than Rh-positive donors since Rh-negative blood is rarer than Rh-positive blood and necessary to create certain medications.
Selling your blood or plasma is not just a way to earn a little side income. Patients worldwide rely on the generosity of blood donors to treat a wide variety of diseases and disorders and the success of major medical procedures like cardiac surgery or organ transplantation. In addition to monetary compensation, you’ll earn the knowledge that your donation helps improve or save lives.
Most donation centers require that donors be between about ages 18 and 67 and weigh at least 110 pounds. (See our related research on where to weigh yourself for free.) You’ll also need to be in generally good health and complete a physical examination at the blood bank before your first donation. Note that requirements and examinations vary slightly by state and by the donation center.
You are considered ineligible to donate blood if you:
- Take certain medications
- Test positive for HIV
- Have received a blood transfusion in the United Kingdom or France between 1980 and the present day
- Have risk factors for Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) or have a blood relative with CJD
- Have a congenital coagulation factor deficiency
- Have had babesiosis or Chagas’ disease
- Have had close contact with a person with viral hepatitis in the past 12 months
- Have taken etretinate for psoriasis
- Spent three months or more in the United Kingdom between 1980 and 1996
- Spent five years in Europe between 1980 and the present
- Have used unprescribed injection drugs, such as illegal drugs or steroids
Keep in mind that there are some potential side effects or disadvantages to blood donation, including lightheadedness, nausea, dizziness, continued bleeding, and soreness of the arm. For most donors, side effects are mild; however, before donating, it’s best to consider your well-being and whether you’ve had strong reactions to having blood drawn in the past.
- A current, government-issued photo ID
- Proof of your Social Security number (or a Border Crossing Card or US Visa, if you’re a resident of Mexico or Canada)
- Proof of your local residential address, such as a utility bill
Before you head to your appointment, you should eat a healthy meal and drink an extra 16 ounces or so of water.
Once you arrive, an associate will greet you, look over your documents, and check you in. If it’s your first visit, you’ll complete your medical history screening and physical exam. (You’ll also be screened during subsequent visits, but the first screening/exam is longer and more thorough.) Staff will explain the donation process to you and answer any questions you have.
Once approved to donate, a staff member will take you to the donation area and draw your blood. You’ll relax in a chair while your donation takes place, and the staff will check on you throughout the process. The process takes about one to two hours, depending on which center you visit; you’re welcome to bring a book, magazine, tablet, or smartphone to keep yourself occupied while you wait.
You’ll receive compensation at the end of your session, usually in the form of a prepaid debit card. Most donation centers offer reloadable cards, which they can add money to after each of your successful donations.
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. Most donation centers will offer doughnuts, cookies, juice, water, and other treats to help you re-energize. Leave your bandage on for several hours after your blood draw. If your arm is a bit sore, you can take acetaminophen or ice the area.
Where to Donate
More than 400 licensed and certified plasma collection centers are located in the United States, but not all donation centers compensate their donors. Our related research lists paying plasma donation centers by region, including BPL Plasma, CSL Plasma, and Octapharma Plasma.
Other Types of Medical Donation