How Much Does BioLife Pay for Plasma Donation? Answered

To those unfamiliar with the process, plasma donation can sound scary and complicated. We’ll clear up the questions surrounding plasma donation and provide details on how to earn extra money through one of the largest plasma collection agencies in the United States, BioLife Plasma. You will likely find that the BioLife compensation amounts are enough to erase any trepidation you may have. How much does BioLife pay for plasma donation? We have the answer below.

What Is Plasma Donation?

Plasma cannot be created in a laboratory; it can only be sourced from healthy humans. Plasma is simply part of your blood that helps the body in several ways. We all need plasma to function and some people need plasma from outside donors because their own bodies can’t produce healthy plasma due to blood disorders, immune system issues, or other health complications. Healthy adults can easily replace donated plasma over the course of a few days.

BioLife helps meet the high demand for plasma. Many patients have provided testimonials on the BioLife website that describe their gratitude for plasma donors. Plasma donation through BioLife helps people of all ages who rely on these donations in order to live a healthy, happy life. Your plasma donation can be used to help patients with alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency (AATD), hemophilia, and primary immunodeficiency diseases. These patient testimonials are a great way to gain inspiration to donate and also provide an understanding of how just a few hours of your time can have a huge impact on someone’s life.

Who Is Eligible to Donate Plasma?

Potential donors must be at least 18 years old, weigh at least 110 pounds (see out article to find out where you can weigh yourself for free), and feel well on the day of donation. Donors will also need to provide photo ID and proof of a permanent local address. Health care professionals walk donors through the screening process, which includes a physical examination and medical history questionnaire for new donors.

The medical screening process involves questions about medical history, including exposure to a variety of infectious diseases (e.g., hepatitis and HIV/AIDS) and testing for anemia and protein levels in the blood. Most medications and well-managed chronic health conditions will not affect your ability to donate. The health care professional will be able to provide specific details and address individual questions during the screening process. Recent piercings and tattoos may affect your ability to donate for a period of four to 12 months after the procedure. For details about the eligibility requirements at BioLife, review the guidelines on their website. Our article about donating blood for money includes a more comprehensive list of rules and conditions for donating plasma.

How Much Does BioLife Pay for Plasma Donation?

The exact amount BioLife pays for plasma donation varies by location and donor, but the range is typically between $20 for your first visit and between $30-$50 for your second visit within the week. (BioLife recognizes a week as being Monday through Thursday.) After a donor gets into the routine of regular donations, the time spent donating is typically under an hour. For many people, this translates into an attractive hourly rate.

BioLife explained on its Facebook page that compensation varies based on how frequently individuals donate and on the promotions that a particular donation center is running at any given time. To find current promotions, donors can visit the BioLife website, sign into their account (or register for a new one), and click on the “Schedule An Appointment” link. This page will display available coupons to earn higher compensation at the next appointment.

Again, donors must be eligible and healthy at the time of each donation. Donors can typically donate twice a week, so it’s entirely feasible to earn $160-$300 per month by donating plasma at BioLife. Contact your local BioLife donation center for specific compensation details for that location.

BioLife Plasma offers fair compensation compared with other plasma donation centers. In the course of our research, we also have the details for how much plasma donation pays at Interstate Blood Bank, CSL Plasma, Biotest Plasma Centers, KEDPLASMA, and Biomat USA. For some additional high-paying plasma donation centers near you, see our article.

How Does BioLife Compensate Donors?

At BioLife, donors are paid with a prepaid BioLife Debit Card. This is a Mastercard-branded debit card that can be used at any store that accepts Mastercard. It is not a credit card, so donors cannot charge more than the balance available on the card. The BioLife Debit Card can be used at an ATM to withdraw cash or have it transferred directly to their own bank account. Donors can always check the balance of a BioLife prepaid card on the Wirecard website or choose to receive text messages about their current balance.

Fees may apply to withdraw cash from an ATM, to transfer money to a bank account, or to make a purchase with the card. An Account Maintenance Fee of $3 is charged monthly if you do not receive a load or perform a transaction for 90 days or more. A POS (point-of-sale) charge is sometimes applied for transactions on prepaid cards, with some rates as high as $2 for PIN-based transactions (run as debit) and $1 for signature-based transactions (run as credit). The fee to withdraw at an ATM for comparable prepaid cards is typically around $2.50. For specific information about the fees associated with a BioLife Debit Card, donors will need to contact Wirecard.

If you no longer want to use your prepaid debit card, you’ll need to run the balance down to $0 in order to avoid paying a monthly fee. Inactivity fees will not be levied against accounts with a $0 balance.

Is BioLife Compensation Taxable Income?

While BioLife and other plasma donation centers may not send a form for taxes, plasma donation compensation is considered taxable income and should be reported on all taxes, according to the BioLife Facebook page. The easiest way to report these earnings is to list it under “Miscellaneous/Other Reportable Income” each year.

How Does Donating Plasma Work?

If you’ve ever donated whole blood, plasma donation is a very similar process. Some plasma can be extracted from a whole blood donation (recovered plasma), but not as much as when the automated plasmapheresis process is used (source plasma). The automated process sounds complicated, but it simply involves both the removal of blood and return of blood components to the donor.

The BioLife website outlines a straightforward explanation of the plasma donation process:

  1. Staff members welcome the donor to the facility.
  2. The donor fills out the same electronic donor questionnaire (EDQ) every time he/she donates.
  3. A medical historian checks the donor’s vital signs and physical health to ensure all the eligibility requirements are met.
  4. A phlebotomist inserts a needle that extracts plasma and returns the non-plasma parts of the blood to the donor’s body. This part of the process, where the needle is actually in the donor’s arm, lasts about 30 to 55 minutes.
  5. A staff member loads money onto the prepaid BioLife Debit Card as compensation for the donor’s time.
  6. The donor goes on to the website to schedule the next appointment, which is very easy.

Is It Safe to Donate Plasma? Is It Painful?

There are a lot of misconceptions about the pain of donating plasma. Many people believe plasma donation must hurt if the donor is being paid. Donors are compensated because of the time it involves, not the pain. Other people are scared of needles, which is a common fear. The fear of needles is something that can be overcome with different techniques, including facing the fear through repeated exposure. On the BioLife website, donors have shared testimonials about how they overcame some of their fears in order to donate. The phlebotomists take special care to use the right needles and follow the proper procedure to avoid pain or discomfort for the donors.

Donors may feel slightly weak after plasma donation, but this can be minimized by following the health guidelines for donation. These recommendations include increasing protein and iron intake and consuming plenty of fluids both before and after the donation process. Large meals are not necessary before donation, but the meals should be healthy and balanced. Taking a multivitamin is also recommended for donors who may be low in iron levels.

It is also important to note that very hot or very cold beverages should be avoided immediately before donation, because the temperature of the drink can alter body temperature temporarily, affecting an individual’s ability to donate. Fatty foods, smoking, and alcohol should be avoided before and after donation days. Getting a suitable amount of rest is also beneficial for plasma donors in order to feel energized on a daily basis. Overall, donating plasma is a very low-risk procedure and by taking a few of these simple steps, donors can minimize after-effects or avoid them altogether.

Many donors comment on the collegiality and friends they make during the plasma donation. If a donor is going twice a week, they can quickly start to build rapport with the staff and make friends with fellow donors. Plasma donation can be an enjoyable process that helps build up local communities for a good cause.

Why Should Plasma Donors Choose BioLife?

BioLife plasmapheresis centers follow strict professional guidelines to ensure the highest standards of safety and reliability. BioLife voluntarily follows the regulations and standards of the International Quality Plasma Program (iQPP), which is part of the Plasma Protein Therapeutics Association (PPTA). BioLife also complies with all state and federal guidelines, including those defined by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

BioLife also provides a safe environment in every facility, with 60-72 donor beds available and over 50 employees at each location. Each of these facilities efficiently and professionally oversees approximately 2,000 donations per week. BioLife centers exist in 30 states across the country and donors can easily find the nearest BioLife location on the BioLife website. A donor can also schedule their appointment directly on the website.

In Summary

Donors at BioLife can expect to earn a BioLife payment in the amount of $20-$50 per visit. With two donations a week, that comes to around $160-$400 per month. Plasma donation is a terrific way to earn extra money and BioLife is just one of many plasma donation companies. For additional plasma collection options, see our article on plasma donations centers near you.

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    • Lindsey Desmet says:
      First Quarter Finance logostaff

      Hello, Lisa! Yes, you can usually donate with Rh-negative blood as long as you meet the other medical screening requirements. Some plasma donation centers (including Biotest, KEDPLASMA, and Grifols) have specific programs for those with Rh-negative blood, which use their donations to help prevent pregnancy complications for Rh-negative women. Best of luck with your donation!

    • Lindsey Desmet says:
      First Quarter Finance logostaff

      Hello, Jim! BioLife Donation Centers typically require an appointment. You may be able to walk in and speak with someone, but it would be best to contact your local plasma donation center by phone. You can visit the BioLife Plasma Services website and click on your state to find your local donation center’s phone number. Best of luck!

  • I’m a 62 year old male in very good condition. Had a heart attack back in 2008, but other than that and typical heart medications, I’m quite fit and healthy. Does age and medication prevent this type of donation?

    If not, what could be the side effects, if any, after the donation? Would the donation prevent me from driving a car soon after?

    • Rebecca Turley says:
      First Quarter Finance logostaff

      Hi Harvy,

      Your past heart attack and current heart medications will not likely disqualify you from donating plasma at BioLife. According to their site, “In most cases, taking medications does not disqualify you from donating plasma. Your acceptance into the plasmapheresis program mostly depends on the type and severity of the medical condition(s) for which you are being treated.”

  • Is there a higher compensation rate if you are Rh negative? I thought I read that somewhere, so could that be the difference in compensation rates?

    • Rebecca Turley says:
      First Quarter Finance logostaff

      Hi Mary,

      We reached out to Biolife and while we haven’t heard back from them yet, we found that some donation companies do pay those who are Rh negative higher rates. We will let you know when Biolife provides us with an answer.

    • Rebecca Turley says:
      First Quarter Finance logostaff

      Hi Mary,

      Just wanted to provide you with a solid answer to your question. We received word back from BioLife and found that “BioLife does not pay extra for different types of plasma. All source plasma is paid out the same.”

  • Hi today was my 4th donation at biolife in Hayden an I know the first time was 20 witch I can understand my second time I only received 19 witch was confusing an my last two times I recived 20 again I’m just curious to why all my friends that go there, same donation center recive 50 every time some of my friends have been receiving since day one. Am I doing something wrong?

    • Rebecca Turley says:
      First Quarter Finance logostaff

      Hi Malynia,

      There’s often some confusion about how much donors are compensated. We contacted BioLife, who told us that the first donation in a week is usually $20, and the second donation in a week can be anywhere from $30-$50 (exact amounts vary based on location). They consider one week to be Monday through Thursday. We updated the article to clear up the compensation difference between a first and second weekly visit.

      In Hayden, Idaho, the second donation in one week is $50, which tells me that perhaps the other donors you talked to were referring to their second weekly donation. It sounds like if your schedule permits, donating twice in one week can be very lucrative!

  • I currently have just signed up to donate at the Oshkosh WI donation center. If I live in that town for college, but don’t have my name on any of the bills that get mailed there, how could I prove my address? Is this one of the places that’s an exception since its a college town? I’m a new donor and never done this before so I wouldn’t want to go there and then not be able to donate.

    • Sarah Quinn says:
      First Quarter Finance logostaff


      You’ve asked a great question. Unfortunately, due to the volume of comments that we receive, we’re not able to help with specific, individual requests. I recommend calling the Oshkosh, WI BioLife location and asking them whether or not you’ll need to bring proof of address. When I’ve been in a similar situation myself, I find that bringing in a signed rental contract works too. Since you are in a college town, I imagine that BioLife will have answered this question for students like yourself in a similar situation. I hope this helps!

  • How long should I wate between each donation. And if I can donate twice a week does that mean wate 7 day from my first visit or 7 days from second visit that week

    • Hillary M. Miller says:
      First Quarter Finance logostaff

      Hi Keith,

      Different plasma donation centers and agencies may have slightly varying rules about the length of time that you need to wait between donations, but typically when donating plasma, you can donate a total of twice per week, with at least 48 hours between each donation — which most commonly means you can donate again seven days after your first donation in a given week (assuming it’s been 48 hours since the second donation). It’s a good idea to contact the specific location you’re interested in visiting if you have any further questions. I hope this helps!

    • Hillary M. Miller says:
      First Quarter Finance logostaff

      Hi Josh,

      BioLife doesn’t publish specific compensation rates online, as the amounts vary among different donation centers. To find out more details, you can contact your local donation center; contact information is provided on the BioLife website when you type in your state and choose the nearest center. I hope this helps!