Donating plasma is a quick way to get some spare cash when your finances are tight. It’s a favorite method for college students, or anybody, to get money quickly and do some good at the same time. But is it something you can do?
What some people don’t realize is that plasma donation is conditional…and those conditions can become a very long list. Not everyone makes a good donor, and it’s good to know if you fall into an exclusion category before you go.
While there’s no way to write an exhaustive list of who can and can’t donate, the following are a general guideline. If you think you might qualify, guidelines are different for every plasma collection company, and the doctor’s questioning may unearth something that would either temporarily or permanently disqualify you from plasma donation.
If you’ve ever tested positive for HIV, even once, forget plasma donation. You’re barred forever. If you’re a man, and you’ve ever had sexual contact with man, even once, you’re not a good plasma donor. If you’ve ever practiced prostitution since 1977, you’re out of luck. If you’ve ever shot drugs into your arm that weren’t prescribed by a doctor, plasma donation and you should never happen. Other categories that are permanently barred include people who’ve lived in certain parts of Europe since 1980, or people who’ve spent more than three days in prison in the last 12 months, or anyone who’s been to certain African nations. Lastly, if you’ve had sex with anyone who fits any of the above descriptions… that’s it. You can’t donate either.
If you’ve somehow managed to escape the above list, don’t think that you’re out of the woods yet. Other medical conditions become a permanent bar to plasma donation, either because the blood supply or the donor may be endangered. They include conditions such as:
Babesiosis (a rare malaria-like parasite)
A diagnosed sickle cell trait
Mitral valve prolapse
Other kinds of diseases or conditions won’t hinder successful plasma donation, but will only require a short period of deferment, such as:
Allergies, if medication is being taken
Medication can be a deterrent to plasma donation, but not always. It depends on the kind of medication being taken. These medications can cause problems:
Medications that are all right for plasma donations include:
Birth control pills
Female hormone pills
There are some other interesting circumstances which can interfere with plasma donation. If you’ve had acupuncture, or any body piercings or tattoos, or electrolysis, say goodbye to donating for about a year. If you’ve been raped, you can’t do plasma donation for a year. If you snort cocaine, don’t plan on paying for it with plasma donation money, because you also can’t donate for a year.
However, plasma donation is safe if you’re menustrating, or a smoker.
These qualifications are only a sampling, not a conclusive list. In order to determine conclusively if you can donate or not, you have to go to your local plasma donation center and go through the exams. Be honest in your answers, and the doctor on staff will let you know if plasma donation is okay for you.