This is a post by my husband, Aaron. -Anna
You may not be aware of this but your body is a potential goldmine worth thousands of dollars to the right people. Any number of body parts (or excretions) can be sold for cash if you have the stomach for it (no pun intended) and are an ethically sound individual. We’ll start with the easy ways to earn cash with your body and work our way up to the more strange, unusual, and potentially illegal and unethical ways to sell your body.
If you chose to take part in any of the suggestions below, be sure to deal with only licensed and approved facilities. Use your own judgement and weigh the payday against potentially harmful side affects, any ethical and moral dilemma’s you may face, and any big trouble you might get yourself into should you participate in the more risqué side of the body-for-cash market.
Your Body is a Goldmine (If You So Choose) – Selling Body Parts for Cash…
She was called Goldie Locks for a reason, folks. Human hair is a valuable commodity for wig makers and probably one of the least painfully ways to make buck off your body. In most cases you’ll need at least 10 inches to sell and the pay scale varies depending on color, thickness, length, ethnicity, and purity (meaning you didn’t bleach it blonde every two weeks). You won’t become rich selling your hair unless you are Rapunzel, mainly because of how long it takes for your hair to grow out to a suitable length, but those dead cells that grow out of your scalp can make you some cash. (Information on donating your hair)
Most places don’t pay for blood donations, but within your blood there are little dollar-signs (ching ching $$) called plasma, which people do pay for. Plasma isn’t actually blood, it’s the liquid that the red blood cells are suspended in. The procedure is slightly different than donating blood and a bit more painful. It also takes longer than donating blood because they withdraw the blood, separate the plasma, then put the blood sans plasma back into your body. The good news? The human body replaces plasma faster than blood, so you can donate more often, up to twice a week. The going rate for plasma varies and some clinics pay more if you go frequently. You can expect anywhere from $20-60. (Information on donating plasma)
Platelets are blood cells that help control and stop bleeding by forming scabs when you are injured. Again, it’s different from simply donating blood but like donating plasma, platelets regenerate quickly meaning you can donate often. Compensation depends on your weight and how frequently you donate. You can expect anywhere from $20-35. (Information on donating platelets)
If a woman finds that she is producing insane amounts of breast milk, she shouldn’t let that precious leche go to waste and should instead put those mammaries to work. Breast milk is perfectly legal to sell in the United States and a month’s supply of the good stuff can net anywhere from $300-1200. (Information on donating breast milk)
Donating bone marrow is tricky and depending on how it’s extracted can be extremely painful, requiring surgery. It seems to be a murky minefield of legality that I am not qualified to interpret but I’ll try. Donating appears to be legal if you have the marrow extracted from blood cells taken from your arm but illegal if the bone marrow is harvested from the hip bone, using a 5 inch needle. Ouch. It’s also quite hard to find a genetic match for your marrow but if you can get through all the hurdles, the set price for bone marrow is approximately $3000. (Information on donating bone marrow)
Selling your seed can net you up to a $1000 a month, but it’s not as easy or as fun as the media (or movies) makes it sound, and very few men actually qualify. You need to be in excellent health, have a clean medical background, be within a certain age, height and weight range, have a post secondary education, and be attractive (who determines that, I am not sure). You can’t use tobacco or another drugs (in any form), and can’t be a heavy drinker. You also need to be able to “deliver” an amount of sperm that is about twice that of what a typical guy produces. If you meet the rigorous requirements, theoretically, you could donate once every 24 hours but most sperm banks prefer variety and may not want large amounts of your sperm. I know you are special, but the world doesn’t need 200 of you. Compensation for your DNA can range from $35 to $100 depending on the size of the sperm bank, how much sperm you can produce in a single session, and how often you donate. Anonymous donors typically get paid less as well. An individual sperm, on average is worth about 0.00000033 cents each, but don’t worry, men produce anywhere from 40-600 million sperm per session.
I have to admit, at a low point in my life, I considered selling my sperm and got as far finding a facility, but in the end, I chickened out and knowing what I know now, my precious seed probably wouldn’t have been deemed worthy anyway. (Find a sperm bank in your area)
Women can make up to $10,000 by selling their eggs, but it isn’t easy and is more invasive and dangerous than dudes selling their sperm. Just like the men, potential candidates must be in good health with a clean medical background, be within a certain age range (typically between 21 and 35 years old), intelligent, attractive and athletic. Very few will make the cut. Egg donation is a multi-step procedure (typically lasting a month from start to finish) involving hormone injections, sedation and potentially harmful side effects. Plus women are born with only a certain number off eggs and unlike guys, women don’t produce more, so once they are gone they’re gone. If you are cool with all that, you can repeat the process once every few months. (Information on donating your eggs)
Ladies, you can rent out your womb for a pretty hefty fee if your baby hotel fits the requirements. You must healthy with a clean medical background, be between the ages of 21 and 41, have given birth within the past 7 years, reside in a surrogate-friendly state, have a supportive partner, a stable income and life insurance. If you meet the requirements, surrogate fees can range from $20,000 to $35,000 with the prospective parents picking up the tab for all medical procedures. If you decided to be a surrogate it’s always best to lawyer up, know your rights and make sure everything is in writing. (Information on surrogacy)
Provided you qualify, you can practically make a living being a human guinea pig. New drugs are being developed by pharmaceutical companies all the time and they need human lab rats to test on before they are approved for use by the general public. Pay depends on what “phase” that particular medicine or treatment is being tested is in, the size the focus group and the length of the study (some can be a day, others weeks). Requirements for participation vary depending on what drug is being tested. Some clinical studies need geriatrics, smokers, diabetics…there is a trial for just about everyone, so just because you don’t have a clean medical background does not mean your are automatically excluded. Possible side effects and risks are incalculable because you will be testing medicines that have yet to be proven 100% safe. Typically, human clinical trials are the last step in the approval process so most side-effects are known but there’s no guarantee on safety.
At another low financial point in my life I signed up for a medical study. I actually got as far as having all the prep work complete (blood draws, paperwork, etc.) but in the end I dropped out the day before I was supposed to begin the trial, because faced with potentially damaging the one thing I did own free and clear, my body, I decided I didn’t actually hit my financial bottom. Instead, I got a temp-job re-stocking paint swatch samples. Turns out, it probably wasn’t much better than testing unknown drugs. (Learn more about medical/clinical trials)
Rent Space on your Body
Advertising agencies are always looking for new and clever ways to reach their target audience so nowadays you might see an ad on your co-worker’s bald spot. It sounds totally ridiculous but certain ad agencies pay you money if you are willing to give them some skin to place an ad on. The ads usually comes in the form of a “henna” style tattoo (which is temporary) and you’ll need to meet certain contractual obligations before getting paid, like sending photos of yourself wearing the ad at different intervals throughout the process. The pay scale varies depending on where the ad is placed and the length of time you’ll wear the advertisement. You usually have to go through a third-party (who takes a small fee) that brokers the deal with the ad agencies and you’ll need to start a profile and get selected, but other than that it’s doesn’t appear to be any specific qualifications, other than being alive, to become a walking billboard. From the websites I looked at, being attractive (and famous) also seem to be a help in getting gigs. Also, if you are crazy enough to get a permanent tattoo of an advertisement, profits can be huge. (Information on selling ad space on your body)
So the big question is: would you SELL or DONATE your body parts?