Your body is worth a lot. Much more than you think. From individual organs to body secretions to even the base elements found in the body, you are a walking gold mine. But can you really sell them for money and 'cash in'? On one hand, should that even be a question? It's your body, right? Yes, it is, but the sale of organs for cash is illegal in many countries including the United States. In countries with less stringent rules on organ 'donation', there is a culture of 'donating' organs for a cash compensation. People readily give up non-vital body parts for extra cash.
Take the kidneys for example. The sale of kidneys make up 75% of the illicit organ trade globally. They appear to need replacing more than other body part. Scientists blame this on the global increase in incidence of diabetes, heart blood pressure and other diseases. The supply and demand of this situation allows them to command some of the highest prices for organs, up to $200,000 per kidney, on the black market.
In America alone, there are over 120, 000 people on the renal transplant waiting list and the average waiting time is 4 years. Little wonder, people explore alternative ways of getting them. However, under the National Organ Transplant Act of 1984 (NOTA), selling a kidney is illegal in the USA. This ban, in part, has contributed to the rise of the medical tourism industry, with Americans flying to China, Iran, Pakistan, to get replacement kidneys. However, in the USA, there IS an illegal underground 'black market that sells body parts.
In 2009, an FBI bust in New Jersey unearthed a market where kidneys were 'bought' for $10,000 and sold for $160,000. In January 2015, a year long investigation saw the FBI raid a Chicago crematorium that was being investigated for body parts sale. Hundreds of body parts were found, which were allegedly being resold for scientific research to medical research organizations. According to the report, the company involved lied to donors that the remains would not be sold. But the bodies were dismembered and sold; elbows for $850, heads for $500 etc.
It's not all gloom and doom, though, you don't have your best bits to raise some cash. There are body parts can still be legally sold for cash and 'losing' them doesn't have any lasting effects. Think about it, for something you have and don't really need, someone somewhere is willing to pay TOP dollar for it!
You'd be surprised at the prices and how much you can make.
10 Blood (Up to $120)
In America, it's illegal to 'pay' people to donate blood, as some folks will lie to get the 'free cash'. However, most blood bank centers offer incentives to donors, including gift cards, entry into sweepstakes, free tickets to local shows etc. While this may not seem like much, a $20 gift card every 56 days, can earn you an extra $120 per year. When financed by local companies, some of these sweepstakes can be for up to $5,000.
9 Hair (Up to $3,000)
It's time for your own Jo-from-Little-Women moment as wig makers, salons, people who simply want longer hair are all queuing up for your tresses. Most buyers are looking for hair that has never been colored, permed or chemically treated. You can earn more if your hair has length (10 inches +) and volume. Bonus cash if it fits all that and you are a redhead.
8 Plasma (Up to $4,800)
Unlike blood, plasma donation is paid for as it is used to produce medication and in the treatment of many genetic diseases. As the process is only an extraction of protein from blood, the recovery time is much shorter, typically about 48 hours. This allows donors to donate at least twice a week.
7 Sperm (Up to $12,000)
Yes, sperm donation can supplement this months rent. After filling out a long application including providing health information of up to three generations and an oral interview, accepted donors can earn up to $125 per cup. Sperm clinic policies differ as some centers place a donor on retainer, requiring a thrice-weekly donation and a $1, 000 monthly payment. Others offer a flat rate per sample.
6 Feces (Up to $13,000)
Yes, poop; which can be an abundant resource if you are hitting your daily fiber intake. Poop from a healthy donor is 'transplanted' to help treat difficult C. difficile infections. The feces used can help restore the imbalance caused by the antibiotics used to treat the infection.
5 Bone Marrow (Up to $18,000)
Or Stem Cell donation, is touted to be the key to winning the fight against leukemia, lymphoma and other blood cancers. However, donations are rare, prompting the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to declare that bone marrow donors should be compensated.
Donors in Arizona, California, Hawaii, Guam, Idaho, Alaska, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington can get up to $3,000 per donation. Since a recovery period of 8 weeks is recommended, $18,000 can be made off of stem cell donation per annum.
4 Breast Milk ($23,000)
Don't freak out, this is a thing. Milk banks were originally developed for mothers who couldn't produce their own milk for their newborns. These days, bodybuilders and athletes are queuing up to buy breast milk for more energy and muscle growth. Some even claim it helps boost their immune system.
3 Eggs ($24,000)
Women seem to have the upper hand with organ donations; eggs can be sold for at least double what men get for sperm. This is due to the more invasive nature of the procedure and the longer recovery period required. A healthy donor can get up to $8,000 per egg donation cycle. Each cycle spans a four week period, after which a three month break is recommended.
2 Womb (Up to $45,000)
Technically more “renting” than an outright sale, a healthy surrogate can charge up to $30,000 to carry a baby for nine months. Surrogacy isn't encouraged in many countries, causing the USA to attract many international couples who want an American surrogate.
1 Clinical Trials (Up to $50,000)
Let's say you don't want to give up parts of your body for science, there are researchers who will 'take' your whole body. Clinical trials are as varied as they come; from flu tests to testing painkillers to trialling drugs for treating STIs; it can be a really mixed bag. However, if you are brave enough, donating yourself for these trials can be pretty lucrative.
Usually Phase 1 Medical trials, these studies can pay up to $1,500 and $5,000 for a 7 day stay. Think about it, you get to help the pharmaceutical industry develop life-saving treatment and essentially take a paid (but highly restricted) holiday.
Clinical trials are a gray area, as some say the effects down the line are not worth the cash received now. Are you brave enough to donate a body part or go the whole hog and sign up for a long trial?
While livers, corneas, even hearts are sold daily on a global scale, they are almost always harvested from recently deceased individuals.
If your goal is to raise part of this month's rent, selling a body part (or two) can be one way around it. While it shouldn't become a permanent solution, donation can have you smiling to the bank with that fat check in a week or two.
Sources: businessinsider.com, popsugar.com, usatoday.com, theguardian.com
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