Poor Economy Has Some Selling Blood for Cash

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There are signs the nation's economic woes are prompting some to sell their blood for extra cash.

College students and the down-and-out have long donated plasma for easy money. But in the current economic climate, the number of people extracting plasma for gas or grocery money is exploding.

An industry group said total donations may hit 16 million this year, up from 10 million donations just three years ago. At Talecris Plasma Resources in Waukegan, manager Rhonda Johnson says this fall is among the busiest seasons she's observed, with more first-time donors joining the twice-a-week regulars.

Whatever their motivation, plasma donors are a valuable resource for an industry that has grown to nearly $10 billion a year. Patrick Robert of International Blood/Plasma News says whatever their motivation, plasma donors are a valuable resource for an industry that has grown to nearly $10 billion a year.