During my freshman year in college, while visiting another college campus, I grabbed one of the school newspapers. While looking through the pages, I noticed an ad, asking for women to allow their eggs to be harvested.
Women of average height, in good health, and possessing a good GPA were encouraged to basically sell their eggs. Not only would the medical procedure be covered, but there was also a stipend involved.
The American Society for Reproductive Medicine points out that egg donors can receive between $5,000 and $10,000, depending on what is involved.
I was briefly tempted to participate.
I met the requirements listed in the ad. I cut out the ad and took it back to my own school. Then I did the research on what donating entails. There are risks involved with becoming an egg donor, from health issues, to medical screening, to injections.
I decided that, between the scholarship and the student loans, not to mention the part-time job, I would be just fine.
But that experience has stuck with me, and I know that many others find that they can do reasonably well if they are willing to sell a little bit of themselves to help pay for college (and other things).
What Can You Sell of Yourself to Pay for College?
First of all, you have to understand what things you can “sell,” and what, legally, you can’t.
It’s illegal to just go out and sell a kidney, or a part of your liver. However, there are some parts of your body that are considered donations or services when you offer them elsewhere. This is a way you can make real money off your body.
Egg donation (for women) and sperm donation (for men) are both legal. Egg donation is often termed a “service,” and in the United States it’s legal to be compensated, on top of having medical expenses paid, for providing fertility related services. Men can also be paid for sperm donation.
It’s also possible for women to receive compensation for surrogacy services that they provide. One of the girls that lived in my dorm served as a surrogate mother for two different pregnancies. She was paid reasonably well for her time, as well as having all medical expenses covered, and she also received stipends to help ensure that she could afford to eat healthy foods, and attend special exercise classes for pregnant women.
Other donations you can be paid for include blood plasma and bone marrow. It’s also possible to sell your hair to wig makers and doll makers.
Before you decide to sell bits of yourself to help you pay for school, make sure that it’s legal, that you are working with legitimate health service providers, and that you have a reasonable expectation of receiving payment.
Is It Worth It to Sell Yourself?
I decided that it wasn’t worth the trouble to have my eggs harvested. It meant a lot of discomfort, and the possible side effects weren’t worth it for me.
However, there are plenty of other women who feel differently.
My surrogate mother friend loved how she felt when pregnant, and had no issues during her two pregnancies.
If you want to make money off your body, it’s important to understand what you are getting into. When you go to the blood bank and donate blood plasma for $25 to $50 a donation, you don’t really have to put it a lot of time and effort. You can go in twice in a seven-day period, and it only takes a few minutes each time. You aren’t paid as much, but it’s quick, easy, and relatively painless.
Other procedures are a little more involved.
A bone marrow donation can take two or three days, and, even though you can get up to $300 or $400, you have to decide whether the downtime is worth it. Even sperm donation requires a certain amount of commitment (sometimes six months or more), and you might be required to abstain from some practices prior to your sperm donation.
The most difficult, though, are egg donation and surrogacy. You have to decide that you really are committed in order to provide these services.
Consider the time you will have to spend, and the potential risks. Only you can decide whether this path is worth it for you.