Extreme money making

March 23, 2009 8:54:17 PM PDT
The downturn in our economy is forcing many people to consider extreme ways to make money. Some are even selling parts of their bodies for a profit.

Selling things like your eggs, hair and plasma can be extraordinarily lucrative but not everyone qualifies to give these things to others and even if you do qualify there are major issues and risks to consider.

"Being able to do this for somebody was just a gift."

Alice has donated her eggs to total strangers not once but three times in just the past year! And she made a total of $15-thousand doing it!

"Of course it was helpful but it wasn't the major factor in me doing it. It's something to do out of your heart your faith."

Because Alice admits egg donation isn't easy and only a small percentage of women qualify.

"Typically the donors are going to be between the ages of 21 and 32," said Dr. Jacqueline Gutmann of Northern Fertility and Reproductive Associates.

Some centers won't take you if you're over 30 and the process is lengthy.

"From beginning to end from that first phone call it could 2, 3, 4 months," said Dr. Gutmann.

Expect a review of your medical history and your family's history, extensive bloodwork as well as physical and psychological testing you may even have to give yourself regular injections.

And men sperm donation also requires comprehensive screening. Also do not expect financial gain overnight.

"The donor gets re-screened 6 months later and it's only then when the sperm will be released for use."

A sperm donor can make between 100 and 500 dollars a sample. Most programs want men between the ages of 22 and 40 and in good health. And not all accept college students. But that isn't discouraging a lot of people. In fact, a growing number are trying to donate.

"As the economy sours the number of people looking to sell body parts or sell access to themselves definitely increases."

But Dr. Art Caplan of the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center says you need to ask yourself some serious questions before giving a piece of yourself up for profit. For instance, while Alice hopes to remain anonymous as an egg donor Dr. Caplan says she should not count on it.

"It's 100-percent certain that there will be no anonymity for those who sell their sperm or their eggs. If they can be traced they're gonna be traced."

That's particularly true if the child has a medical issue or emergency. And any medical procedure involves risk.

"When you take these powerful drugs that make you super-ovulate there's a risk of dying because some of those egg sacs can explode, things can go wrong in trying to get those eggs out," said Dr. Caplan. "You might wind up sterile or dead."

Meantime, some private companies will pay anywhere between a couple hundred to a couple thousand dollars if you volunteer for a clinical trial on a new drug or treatment but the same risks apply. But even Dr. Caplan points out there are some other things you can do that carry minimal risk.

"We don't allow whole blood sale in the U.S. but you can sell plasma, part of the blood."

The Plasma Protein Therapeutics Association says donations are steadily increasing. The process is fairly simple and can be done as often as twice in a 7-day period. You'll get 20 to 40 dollars per donation.

Even less extreme you might be able to turn in your hair for some extra income. Websites like thehairtrader.com offer a free way to post your ad to sell your hair. Buyers are generally looking for long, untreated locks and can pay upwards of a couple thousand dollars!

Also 'selling' your organs is illegal.