- Flickr / Mo Riza
In a monetary sense, your physical body is worth more than you may think. People will pay hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of dollars for certain body parts.
It may be Halloween, but we’re not talking about severed fingers.
Note that “selling” a body part isn’t the same as putting your futon up for sale on Craigslist. With the exception of selling ad space on your skin, most forms of giving body parts are technically donation, but it’s common practice to be compensated in cash.
Being compensated for all of the parts listed below is legal, but we don’t necessarily recommend it. There are other – more conventional – ways to supplement your income.
But if you’re curious to know how much your hair, plasma, and other body parts might be worth (or you’re looking for a Halloween chill), read on to find out.
Mandi Woodruff contributed to an earlier version of this article.
Plasma: Anywhere from $25 to $50
If you’ve ever seen your blood separate after it’s been collected by a nurse or doctor, plasma is pretty much all the clear stuff that stays at the bottom, according to DonatingPlasma.org.
It’s used in all kinds of treatments, including genetic diseases like hemophilia and autoimmune disorders. Some blood banks will pay anywhere from $25 to $50, depending on your weight – the more you weigh, the more you get paid, as you’ll be able to donate more plasma.
Check blood banks in your area at Bloodbanker.com and call ahead to see how much you’ll be compensated.
Hair: Up to $1,000
Like blood, hair is easy enough to donate to a good cause (like Locks of Love). But it’s also entirely possible to sell it at a pretty sweet price point.
The trick is to keep it as long and “virginal” as possible. That means no harmful hair dyes or other chemical treatments that could damage the quality. Buyers are likely looking to make wigs, and they’re not going to be interested in your split ends.
Your whole body: Up to $1,000 per person
- Kathleen Elkins
Hospitals and researchers rarely advertise clinical trials – a way to test drugs or other treatments for a variety of conditions – so nailing down a pay range is tricky. While the price range varies greatly, Consumerist Commentary estimates one trial could earn up to $1,000 per person.
Note that they’re not necessarily easy to get into – or through – and it’s important to consider potential risks beforehand.
You can search for various trials on ClinicalTrials.gov.
Sperm: $125 per sample
The going rate: $125 for each acceptable sperm sample – which can add up to about $600 per month – according to the Sperm Bank of California.
You’ll have to meet some very specific qualifications first. Here’s the list of requirements for potential donors at SBC:
• Between ages 20 and 39
• At least 5’7″
• Can make a six to 12 month commitment
• Live within 25 miles of the office
• Can provide a family medical history
• Are able to work legally in the US
• Have completed or are pursuing a college degree
Eggs: Up to $8,000
- Sandy Huffaker/Getty
When it comes to selling your powers of reproduction, women definitely have a leg up.
Eggs can be sold for as much as $8,000 for each completed cycle, according to the Center for Human Reproduction, where you can also apply to donate your eggs.
That’s likely because the process for egg donation is far more invasive than what men go through, and involves self-injections with hormonal medications.
Your skin: Payments vary
- Absolute Territory PR
Some companies will pay you good money to advertise on your skin. One single mother sold her forehead to an online casino, which paid her $10,000 to tattoo its URL onto it, POPSugar reports.
That’s chump change compared to what one web-page designer earned selling his forehead to SnoreStop for advertising space: $37,375 for one month of advertising.
Note: You’ll get paid less for temporary tattoos.
Your womb: Between $25,000 and $55,000
- Thomson Reuters
Surrogacy – carrying someone’s baby for nine months – is still a controversial issue in the US, and not recognized by all states. It is a laborious and deeply emotional process, but can earn women between $25,000 and $55,000, according to Circle Surrogacy.
If you’re interested in becoming a surrogate, read more about the qualifications.
Bone marrow: $3,000
- Thomson Reuters
It’s illegal to sell or purchase organs in the US – however, an exception exists in certain states when it comes to bone marrow. The body replenishes marrow like it does blood, meaning selling marrow is not the same as selling a kidney, for example, or any other organ.
And because bone marrow is so sought-after, you can earn up to $3,000 by selling it, The Wire reports.
The process is notoriously painful – and there’s about a 1-in-540 chance you’ll be a genetic match and actually get to sell it.
If you’re interested in becoming a donor, read more about the process.