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The urban legend has people waking up in bathtubs full of ice and discovering that their kidney has been removed, all because of a lucrative black market for internal organs. And that black market exists because most state and federal laws prohibit people from selling their organs, citing public policy concerns and the negative incentives that a body part market would create.
But it's your body -- surely you can lop a little of it off if you choose to, right? It turns out there are a few pieces of you that you can sell, so here's a quick legal guide to selling your body parts for fun and profit:
1. Plasma: You could donate your plasma, but why give it away for free when you could be getting two or three hundred dollars a month for multiple donations? Not only are you giving to a good cause (donations can help those with leukemia or other immune disorders), but you're taking home some cash to boot. Although, most states consider it a donation because you're being compensated for your time and inconvenience, rather than the plasma itself.
2. Sperm/Eggs: The average dude can get about $100 per "deposit" at the sperm bank. But that's pennies compared to the $8,000 a woman can earn for her eggs. But that price tag comes with a price: egg donation is much more invasive, and a woman is born with all the eggs she will ever have, so it's not a renewable resource. Just be prepared to meet your offspring someday -- donor privacy ain't what it used to be.
3. Hair: Blessed with a great set of long and flowing locks? You could donate them to charity, or make a cool grand for your 'do. The trick to fetching a great price (or so we've heard) is to keep hair as natural and dye-free as possible.
4. Skin: Nope, you're not peeling it off and selling it to the highest bidder. (If so, Silence of the Lambs would've been a way more boring movie.) But people have been known to sell ad space on their body, for temporary and permanent tattoos. Just make sure you choose your candidates wisely.
5. Your Whole Body: Want to help discover the latest and greatest advances in medicine? Willing to put up with unknown side effects? Congratulations! Just sign here and you can get up to $1,000 for participating in clinical trials. (Note that your signature will probably bar you from suing if you get sick.)
So be careful who you sell yourself to, and never sell yourself short.
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.