This is one of those situations where Biomat ended up on my spite list. I'd heard about donating
plasma for money from a facebook group, and they listed Gilfols as a place that you could donate plasma for cash.
Now, I don't give much in society, but what I can do is give blood. I have O-; the universal donor. And I will gladly take time out of my day to donate as much as I can. The process of giving blood is pretty quick - usually takes about an hour (including the prescreen, the blood draw itself takes about 17 minutes) unless they are slammed. But plasma is a bit different. With plasma, you are hooked up to an aphresis machine and it separates your plasma and returns the red blood cells back to you along with saline. Due to this, the process takes roughly one to two hours. Plus, plasma regenerates in the body very quickly. While whole blood takes 56 days, plasma takes about 48 hours. Another downside to plasma is that it takes 6-10 donations from the same person to make just 1 dose of medicine for someone, where as whole blood can save up to 3 lives for one donation. So, because of these caveats, it makes sense that companies have to entice people with monetary gain in order to keep coming back to donate. A sad but realistic truth.
Anyway, I'm here to tell you about the process of donating plasma in case you were interested. Gilfols is only one company out of dozens that do this and each place is a bit different, but this was my experience. And I can tell you straight up that they really really need to streamline their process. Although returns visits will take under 2 hours, first timers (me) took 5. Yes, FIVE HOURS.
So the reason that Biomat [Gilfols] was on my spite list was because on my first trip out there they ask you to fill out as basic form that lists your medications. Well, being a good citizen, I noted that I take Phentermine but only once a week. However, they didn't like that and wanted a note from my doctor saying it was okay to take it and donate plasma. Fine. Sent my doctor an email and she said no, she will go by whatever they recommend. FINE. So, I stop taking the phentermine. I go back. I fill out the form again. Then they say I need a note from my doctor that I had stopped taking the phentermine. Sigh. So, turned away again! Finally get the note that I stopped and now we can proceed from stage 1, which was a quick nurse assessment of the form/medications.
Stage 2 was a quick vein check and was told to read a binder about plasma donations and medications I can't take etc. If you give blood, this is similar to that. Then back out into the waiting room.
Stage 3 is watch a short video on an ipad about how donating plasma saves lives etc out in the waiting area.
Stage 4 is getting called back into the prescreen area where they ask you to answer 65 questions about sexual history, tattoos, needles, diseases, travel etc. Again, similar to the whole blood questionnaire. And then they take your vitals. Anything here can disqualify you. Hematocrit, temp, blood pressure, protein levels. My temp was too low and had to wait 15 minutes for another retake.
Stage 5 Getting called back to do the physical. He/she will make you do a urine test and has you rewatch the short video while that's processing (really?) They then read from a booklet that basically restates what you just watched (really?). Then they will check your reflexes, eyes, nose, ears, ankles, abdomen, basically checking for any sign of infection or needle injection sites.
[By the way, the guy whom checked me and who was the same paramedic who stroke me off the list for the phentermine (which only has a 28 hour half life ffs!) is such a cocky bastard. I can imagine how much of a joy he must be to work with.]
Stage 6 Eat, and wait. Because you've been here for almost 4 hours at this point and you're damn hungry and need to eat before you donate plasma, and they have cup noodles and Gatorade. Yay.
Stage 7 DONATE. This is a bit different than whole blood. They want you to pump your fist the entire time that it's drawing from you. I'm not sure what the cycle timer is but it feels like a while, maybe 10 minutes, and your hand gets tired. Then, the pressure on the cuff will release and you stop pumping your fist as your red cells get returned back to you. You can watch as each cycle drops more plasma into the container and you can see how much longer you've got. I watched an episode of The Flash on Netflix while I did it. You just have to be cognizant of when you pump your fist and when not to.
Stage 8 Wait to get paid. For the donation center up here, the pay scale goes like this:
$75 for the first and $75 second donation (they teach you that you must donate at least twice or the first batch gets tossed. That makes me sad)
$50 for the 3rd and $50 for the 4th donation
$100 for the 5th donation (which is weird because they say they need at least 6 to make a dose of medicine so I'm not sure why it's like that)
$50 for the 6th donation (if it's within the same month) and every subsequent donation adds $5 to your running total that month [In a new month, it starts at $25]. Since you can donate basically up to 2x a week that can add up pretty quickly, but remember, its 2 hours out of your day. So, it's a toss up. Just think though, it's not just about getting money; you are saving lives, even if it's the pharmaceutical companies shilling for your bodily fluids.
I just donated for my 6th time. I will get up to 7 before I turn around and donate whole blood on September 1st. Then I have to wait 56 days before I can donate plasma again. My body needs a plasma break anyway. I've started to bruise easily and I have to take a double dose of my iron pills just to keep my levels high enough to pass the screening. Not to mention that I need to slam back even more protein with weight training and plasma donation. It can be tough. But, I thought I'd let you guys know the process just in case you were interested!