Las Vegas plasma center sees rise in residents donating to cover costs

First time donors can make $800 first month
More people are donating plasma to cover costs, new donors can receive $100 per donation.
Published: Jul. 30, 2022 at 2:02 AM PDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - More people are donating plasma to cover costs, new donors can receive $100 per donation.

Grifols operates a network of plasma donation centers. One of their newest locations is Biomat USA Plasma Center off Tropicana in Las Vegas.

Center Manager, Janay Thomas, says when the center opened in December they saw about 80 donors per week. Now they’re seeing 700.

Corporate Affairs Director for Grifols, Vlasta Hakes, said across the board they have seen an increase for the past three months.

Plasma is the liquid portion of the blood that contains proteins and antibodies that help our body function. She said the process of donating is about taking the plasma and pulling out proteins and antibodies to make specific medicines that treat people with rare and chronic conditions. The difference between donating blood and plasma is that plasma takes a little longer. Your red blood cells are returned to you and they keep the plasma.

“These medicines are lifesaving, they are life-enhancing they are giving people an opportunity to live a better life. So really important and critical for many of the patients that depend on the medicines, there is no other treatment,” Hakes said.

Each plasma donation can be used to make about five different medications.

“Plasma is mostly water so your body regenerates it very quickly, so a plasma donor can give more often – up to twice a week as long as they have a full day in between. And this is important because as I mentioned it’s mostly water so we need a lot of donations to get enough proteins and antibodies to make the medicine,” Hakes said.

As far as the increase in donors Hakes said they could not attribute it directly to inflation. FOX5 spoke with donors who said the extra cash they are receiving is going toward essential needs.

Kathryn Ristine donates twice a week. She drove to the donation center right after work. Even though Ristine works a full-time job, said she uses the cash to help with bills.

“For gas, for food, helping to pay the bills. And then rent is due next week,” Ristine said.

Shannon Granada has been a donor for a little over a year.

“Where I work I met somebody who actually benefits from people who do plasma donations so that was kind of neat to know that what I do does actually benefit people out there,” Granada said.

New donor compensation includes making $100 for the first 8 donations. Return donor compensation includes donating twice a week, where the first donation of the week you make $40, the second donation of the week is at $40 plus a $40 bonus so $80 in total. That’s $120 per week.

“So we really see this as a win-win. Donors are coming in, they’re helping save lives, and then they also get a little bit that can help them in their day-to-day lives,” Hakes said.

The first time donating can take a couple of hours to complete. It includes a health screening with temperature checks, blood pressure and weight.

After your first time donating can take 45 minutes to an hour.

For those interested in donating, click here.