Selling your body… for science: avenues for making money

6 November 2018

Camissa Miller

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    In recent times, blood, plasma and bone-marrow donation have skyrocketed in popularity for any minor, or adult, for that matter–looking to give and to get. These donations may or may not be lucrative, but they result in a positive outcome regardless: someone in need gets your donation, and you get paid.

    Donations, for money or not, are an excellent way for aspiring youths to help their community and help themselves. UCCS senior and music and composition and sound design major, Zachary Sherwood agrees, mentioning how he wants to contribute in any way he can, “whether it’s blood, plasma, or whatever.” Students in need of finances can donate for an extra boost in pay, but the idea of helping their community can be just as rewarding.

   Jessica De Briel, a UCCS freshman studying communication and education, wants to help as well, especially since her secondary school used to frequently participate in blood and cancer awareness drives. “I learned most of it through my high school. It makes people more active and it’s healthy,” says De Briel.    

    Although their popularity has spiked in recent years, donations have been around for much longer than a few decades. In further detail, physicians have been experimenting with blood since 2500 BCE, when ancient Egyptians used bloodletting for medicinal and healing purposes. It was even used by barbers back when the profession meant patching wounds as well as providing a good shave, leading to the iconic red-and-white striped pole: the red represents the blood and the white represents the bandages.

    Blood transfusions as we know it today were truly implemented during WW2, when the Red Cross organized a “civilian blood donor service” to collect blood in response to the necessities of soldiers. By 1945, more than 13 million pints of blood had been collected.

    There are 4.5 million Americans that would die each year without these life-saving blood transfusions. About 32,000 pints of blood are used each day in the United States; just one pint can save as many as three people’s lives.    

Plasma, which can be donated more often than blood–typically twice a week–often pays the donor, sometimes described as pay for time spent rather than plasma donated. Plasma cannot yet be synthesized, so the medical field relies on donations for life-saving medicines.

    Keep in mind that some organizations prohibit certain people from donating, including but not limited to men who have sex with men, people with recent tattoos or piercings, or people having recently visited France, to name a few. This is simply an effort to prevent the transfer of blood-borne diseases.

    Although it can’t be donated nearly as often, bone-marrow can have miraculous life-saving effects on persons with deadly illnesses ranging from cancer to leukemia to graft-vs.-host disease.

    De Briel adds, “There is a big procedure for bone marrow because there’s only so much that you have. It goes towards cancer–bone marrow can actually stop cancer in certain treatments.”  Because of the limitedness of bone-marrow, the donation can be especially important in medical practices.

    For more information and to see if you qualify to donate, visit Give some of whatever you can and help save a life.