How to Sell Your Body Without Becoming a Prostitute

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Need cash fast?  The  medical world is dying to pay you to study and farm your body.

Donate Plasma

Look up plasma donation centers in your area.  Many of these facilities will pay you $60-$80 for each donation and, depending on the center, will allow you to donate between one and two times a week.  Those who qualify to donate blood will most likely qualify to donate plasma.  So unless you lived in the UK during the mad cow disease scare or have had anal sex with a man in Nigeria since 1976 (along with all those other fun questions,) odds are you’re good to go.

When you go in, they will put you through a screening test, checking your general health and asking all those weird questions.  Then they’ll take you back and draw some blood.  They’ll spin your blood around in a machine, separating the plasma from the rest of your blood.  They keep the plasma, then pump the rest back into you.  You may get a cookie and then go home with your payload.

Some people think  they are doing a good thing while getting paid for it.  Their plasma, after all, is going to research.  I don’t want to burst anyone’s bubble, but usually the people collecting the plasma work for pharmaceutical companies.  Could the drug they develop using your plasma save lives?  Sure, maybe.  But the bottom line is that they’re paying you so they can do research on a drug that will make them money.

Medical Research Studies

Hospitals and universities nationwide conduct research studies that need human guinea pigs, and they’re willing to pay you to be one.  Generally, participants get paid anywhere between $50-thousands of dollars, depending on the length and intensity of the study.  Examples of study include sleep studies, studies on breastfeeding women, smoking cessation studies…the list goes on forever.  If you’re in Pittsburgh, UPMC does a ton of them.  You can search for them online, but a lot of times the websites are outdated.  I know they post a lot of opportunities on bulletin boards around and inside the William Pitt Union.  (That’s if you’re willing to go there right now….what’s up with all these bomb threats?!)

Medical Research Studies can be a good way to earn money, but always keep in mind that your health should come over a quick payday.  If you don’t feel right about the drug they want to test on you, you can always say no.  Being healthy long-term is a more frugal option, anyways.

Donate Sperm

If you’re in generally good health, and male, you could always consider donating sperm.  The pay is between $35-$50 per donation, and you can expect to be able to do it about twice per week depending on the clinic.  In other countries there’s a lifetime max of how many times you can donate, but not here in the United States!  I’m not going to get into the “how” on this one; if this is one of your options, you are more intimately familiar with how it works than I am.

It’s important to think how this will effect you and your loved ones in the future.  Will you ever be curious about your biological children?  Would a future spouse be bothered by the fact that you participated in sperm donation?  There’s websites now where you can find your biological siblings by donor number.  One donor, “Ben,” decided to enter his own donor number and found he had over 70 children.  On one hand, he had helped so many families have…well, families.  On the other, his fiance was not happy about the news and felt like he had been incredibly selfish.  He had kids wanting to meet him etc., etc.  So if you do decide this is a good path for you, don’t enter your donor number on one of these websites.  It will open up a Pandora’s box.  (Click here to see part of Ben’s story.)



*Part of Frugal Friday at Life As Mom*

21 thoughts on “How to Sell Your Body Without Becoming a Prostitute

  1. Modest Money

    I was not aware that a lot of the plasma donations are for pharmaceutical companies. I didn’t know they pumped the leftovers back into you. I guess if you want your blood to go to a good cause, you’d have to go directly to a hospital to donate and probably not get paid.

  2. nicoleandmaggie

    We looked into sperm donation in graduate school, ‘cuz man, we could have used the money. But DH was disqualified because his mom had breast cancer and diabetes. He sure makes beautiful babies though… but maybe just as well there aren’t any more out there.

    1. femmefrugality

      Oh, man. His mom must have been a tough woman. I don’t mean to discourage people from doing it…if you qualify you are giving people a WONDERFUL gift. I just think it’s good to consider both sides of the story before making any decision.

  3. Well Heeled Blog

    You can also donate eggs, although that is a much more invasive procedure than sperm donation or plasma donation. The payment potential is also much higher, though, especially if you are in a wanted demographic – i.e. you are in an in-demand ethnicity, you have high test scores, you are healthy and attractive, and you have a track record of successful previous egg donation.

  4. Miss Caitlin S.

    very interesting post- I like it. I have always wondered about sperm/egg donation. I don’t plan on doing it and see nothing wrong with it but yes, it would be beyond odd to find out that you have biological children out in the world whom you don’t know!

  5. Miss T @ Prairie Eco-Thrifter

    I have thought about options like this in the past but my morality and personal ethics holds me back. I just wouldn’t feel comfortable knowing that a part of me is walking around in someone else. I would much rather find other ways to make money.

  6. femmefrugality

    @Katie–It kind of does! If you can handle a needle. 🙂
    @Miss T- I totally understand about donating eggs. I’m the same way. It’s not just the invasive nature of the process…it’s the fact that you’d have a biological child out there somewhere. It’s too much for me. But I know some families who are very grateful to people who can handle it. The plasma doesn’t actually go to another person. They just use it for studies. And the medical research option is just your body. No transplants or anything.

    1. femmefrugality

      Haha that’s reason enough. When I got to high school everyone kept asking me about my older sister. That didn’t exist. Everyone just thought we were related. It was weird. I wasn’t a donor baby. Or was I….

  7. GB @ In Budgets We Trust

    Really catchy title! I’ve looked into donating my plasma but the centers out here only pay $25 in the form of a gift card. I wasn’t sure if it was worth the long wait I read about on Yelp.

    I looked into donating my eggs a few years ago when I turned 21. The pay was about $1500 but the nurses highly recommended against it for young women or a woman who hasn’t already had a child yet because the invasiveness of the procedure may impact the ability to have children in the future.

    1. femmefrugality

      I hear ya. In Pittsburgh they don’t really have centers that do it, but they have in a bunch of other places I’ve lived.

      That’s why I highlighted donating sperm instead of eggs. It seems like there’s enough trouble with fertility in this day and age. I didn’t want to add to the problem. Thanks for the numbers! It may be an option someone out there is trying to pursue.

  8. Emily @ evolvingPF

    I’ve done a bunch of clinical studies as a healthy volunteer. My policy is not to take any drugs or do anything invasive, so a lot of them were psychological studies. When I worked at the NIH I did several fMRI studies that were bank – $120 for about 2.5 hrs! Now that I’m back at a university though I’ve noticed that the pay rate is terrible – about $10/hr. Aargh, too many undergraduates! I have done a few since starting school though if the subject interested me, not so much for the money. I participated in a clinical trial on genetic literacy and had a genetic test done which gave me great information to keep my good health.

  9. femmefrugality

    Wow, it sounds like you’ve had a lot of luck with those! Every time I’ve gone in they wanted me to take some weird drug, so they compensate me for the initial appointment, but no big bucks. Gonna have to try some of the specifics you address!


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