Making Ends Meet with Plasma Donation

By Jillian Petrus

IOWA CITY - In a slow economy people are looking for new ways to make money. One way is donating plasma.

But some blood banks like The University of Iowa's DeGowin Blood Center can't pay donors for their blood or plasma.

The UI's DeGowin Blood Center says it always expects donations to slow in the summer months. But now there maybe another reason for a shortage, as people figure out just how much their blood is worth.

Kim Horras has donated blood for the last sixteen years.

"I used to do platelets but that hurts my arm too much anymore. Now I'm just a whole blood girl!" said Horras.

She says she donates because she wants to help save lives. But not everyone is donating their blood and plasma for free anymore.

"My gut instinct is, with the state of the economy, that it is having some what of an impact on blood centers," said Paula Dayton with Donor Recruitment.

But with local area centers paying up to $45 for plasma, people maybe heading elsewhere to get their money's worth.

This is when regular donors like Horras are very important. "People who do it to get paid, those people are doing it for a different reason anyway."

Another factor in a shrinking blood supply, fewer donors during the summer. The center is counting on a large group of people to help out come the fall.

"Student population is huge you know we're talking 30,000 more students, people coming into Iowa City," said Dayton.

Dayton is hopeful they'll see more blood donors coming into the center soon. She says simply put, donors save lives.

The blood collected at the center is held specifically for UI patients.

Later this month the center will hold its annual back to school blood drive. The center says it's seeing an increase in usage and it needs more O-Negative and plasma donations but always encourages everyone to donate.
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