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The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Donating plasma a way to earn cash

By Trent Lowe, Staff Writer

One way students are making money literally saps the life out of them.

With the economic recession and the growing number of lost jobs, many U students are turning to plasma donation, the process of extracting plasma from their blood, to meet their financial needs.

“I have another job, but it’s retail and I only get scheduled about 10 hours a week, so it does supplement my other job,” said Lauren Tarufelli, a sophomore in accounting. “I actually make more money donating plasma.”

Plasma is the liquid component that makes up nearly 60 percent of blood and is separated from the blood by using a centrifuge in a laboratory. Plasma contains vital proteins, glucose, hormones and carbon dioxide, which help in the transportation of excrement.

After being extracted, plasma can be used in the treatment of liver disease, sepsis, blood coagulation, cirrhosis and other ailments.

“If plasma donation wasn’t available, people would suffer because these treatments wouldn’t exist,” said Christine Kuhinka, manager of corporate communications at CSL Behring, which owns ZLB Plasma in Salt Lake City. “As a college student, I couldn’t think of a better way to gain income. You’re earning money while also contributing to the good of society.”

A donor is limited to donating twice a week, because of safety regulations, and can make $40 to $75 per week. There’s also the incentive that some centers compensate donors for referrals.

Plasma donation isn’t a new trend. Donations have gone up from 10 million in 2005 to 17 million in 2008, according to Kuhinka.

“I think that plasma donation is popular everywhere,” Kuhinka said, citing that no region of the United States shows more donations than another. “There has been an increase in donations, beginning in 2005, that has been steady since. The reason for that is that we have expanded existing donation centers and we’ve opened new ones.”

Any healthy student can donate plasma and the process is painless, except for the first appointment, which can last up to three hours, according to Kuhinka.

“I am actually kind of scared of needles and my veins are difficult, so it was kind of a nightmare to go do it,” said Chelsea Naisbitt, a junior in pre-nursing. “The facility was pretty nice and clean. I don’t do it anymore, but if things got tight and I really needed money, I would probably resort to donating again.”

In addition to receiving compensation for donating, many, including Kuhinka, believe that there is also an altruistic benefit to it.

“Whatever your socioeconomic demographic, you’re inclined to help people,” Kuhinka said. “Although we compensate our donor, at the end of the day, the donor is helping people with diseases to live healthy, normal lives. Truly, it’s a win-win for college students8212;not only is it a good deed, but they can supplement their income.”

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