For many Calvin students, plasma donation, though unpleasant, presents a way for quick cash.
These students have already been visiting BioLife Plasma Services, usually at the East Paris location, for anywhere from a few months to a few years.
For many student donors, the procedure is an infrequent way to make some ends meet—an instant, money-making remedy. However, for donors like senior Andrew Hendricksen, it has changed into a practice:
- “I donate twice per week, which will be the maximum number of times you’re permitted to donate in seven days,” he said. “I am pretty indifferent about the procedure, mainly because it is now a routine element of my weekly schedule.”
- Plasma is obtained through plasmapheresis, where an automated machine extracts whole blood through an IV. The plasma is separated from the red and white blood cells and platelets, which are then returned to the donor. This takes about one and a half to two hours. Roughly 600-800 milliliters could be safely drawn from a donor every time they go through the procedure.
- Plasma mainly goes toward plasma protein therapy. It assists with clotting issues and helps in the healing process. Plasma also includes antibodies, which fight off infection; when extracted, the plasma can fight hepatitis A and B, along with tetanus.
- According to BioLife, the plasmapheresis process takes 20-40 minutes longer when compared to a blood donation because of the separation; however, since the cellular components are returned, donors can donate twice a week.
Although the experience is benign for a few students, it could be stressful for others.
“I hate donating,” said first-year student Austin Kanis. “My first time contained sheer terror, and I think anxious and uneasy every time I donate now.”
For junior Nathan Fitch, the procedure could sometimes be nauseating.
“This is probably due to all the blood around,” he said. “You will see other people’s blood in the clear tubes used in the machines. Sometimes since extends to me.”
But regardless of the discomfort, many students find the procedure worth the money.
BioLife pays donors $20 the first time they go within a week and $50 for the second. In addition, they offer promotions: donors who give eight times in monthly get an extra $50, and very first-time donors receive $50 instead of $20 for their first few donations. Every one of the money the donor earns is deposited onto a BioLife bank card, which is often spent at the donor’s convenience.
For many students, though, the payment presents an ethical quandary. Senior Drew Folkerts said donating for pay left him with feelings of guilt. However, when contributing without charge for Michigan Blood, Folkerts says he fe