At this very moment, you may very well be sitting on a gold mine of secondary income. Don't worry about qualifications; the only skills you need to get started are a pulse and a clean bill of health. According to a recent, gruesome CNBC feature, every corpse can generate between $10,000 to $100,000, depending on how the remains are used. This new trend of “body brokering” is indeed as morbid as it sounds, but if our bodies are worth that much after we’re gone, can we still benefit while we’re alive and have bills to pay? If you're willing to do a little research and don't mind sharing your inner-most self with the world, you can.
Do not take this post as an endorsement. Each of the below money-making tactics carry varying degrees of risk, and the legalities around each have some gray areas. Do your own research first before committing to anything. Also note that most, if not all of them, have non-paid donation options if you're just looking to help. (At least you'll still get the tax write-off.) But if times are tough, these options are out there.
1. Plasma. Receiving money for donating red blood is rare, but profiting from donations of your plasma (a component of your blood) is very common. The process is lengthy, but pays off. After you find a collection center and get successfully screened, you’ll sit through a 90-minute procedure in which your blood is drawn, separated from the plasma and then returned to your body. Since you’re not losing any red blood, you can sell your plasma as often as twice a week for around $35 a pop. To find a plasma donation center near you, visit DonatingPlasma.org.
2. Platelets. Hawking your platelets isn’t for the squeamish. If you can stand a relatively long date with a needle, you’ll help transplant patients in dire need of the platelets’ blood-clotting abilities. You'll also earn around $50 bucks for your time. Learn more about donating platelets at RedCrossBlood.org.
3. Bone Marrow. This process requires surgery and typically a morning to afternoon hospital stay, but the benefits of donating bone marrow can be great both financially and ethically. Compensation ranges from $125 up to $400 for donors, though note that many states do not allow monetary compensation for bone marrow. For more information on bone marrow donations, visit BeTheMatch.org.
4. Hair. Do you have a beautiful mane that’s about to get cropped off for summer? Before you make an appointment at your stylist, consider there’s still a huge market for human hair. Listing online is one of the most common ways to match up with a buyer. Check out safe and reputable listing sites like BuyAndSellHair.com or HairSellon.com. If you don’t have luck selling, consider donating hair to Locks of Love to help provide wigs for cancer patients.
5. Breast Milk. The laws vary on this one, so do your homework. If you’re a mother that produces more milk than your little one needs, there may be a market for selling off the excess. Safety concerns, processing fees and pasteurization laws make this one tricky, but private sales do happen. OnlyTheBreast serves as a connection for those in need and those who can donate or sell. Visit their website for more information and to see if you can participate.
6. Sperm. Nearly every struggling college male has at least considered donating sperm when facing another week of Ramen Noodle dinners. Before you get too excited, note that sperm banks have extremely high screening standards. The vast majority of applicants don’t make the cut, but those selected are compensated handsomely for their, ahem, hard work. Expect to earn between $50 to $200 per session. Search SpermBankDirectory.com for a list of donation sites in your area.
7. Female Eggs. If kids aren’t on your radar but you want to give someone else the gift of motherhood, egg donors are generously rewarded with as much as $5,000 to $10,000. Qualifications are incredibly strict, but if you’re a pro athlete, Carnegie Hall pianist or Mensa candidate, you just might change someone’s life. Recent policy changes also make it possible to sell your eggs in some states for embryonic stem-cell research. Either way, the process is quite complex and sometimes risky, so egg donation isn't for the faint of heart. Visit EggDonor.com for details on how to donate.
8. Clinical Trials. Clinical trials are potentially very lucrative, but probably the most dangerous of these options. Human guinea pigs can make a lot of money and help advance medical research, but you also may experience some serious side effects. If the idea of turning into an X-Men character worries you, do your homework and learn as much as you can about the test. Talk to the doctors, discuss potential reactions and make sure you’re 100-percent clear on the process before getting started. Visit ClinicalTrials.gov for ongoing trials.
For additional ideas on earning extra money fast, check out our post 24 Ways to Make Money While Unemployed.