Blood Money: Selling Your Body Parts

May 6, 2009 There is a boom in donors of sperm, eggs and much more.

Melissa and Jamie are two women who are selling parts of themselves. Jamie is selling her hair. Melissa is selling her eggs.

"I am raising money to buy a digital camera," Jamie said.

Jamie posted a profile online where buyers can bid on her hair. When she is happy with the price, it's goodbye to her long locks.

"I told them I would sell 18 inches of it," she said.

Buyers look for hair that's been uncreated and un-dyed, and the seller has to abstain from smoking and drugs. The healthier the seller, the higher the price for the hair.

She will likely get $600 to $1,200.

Each cycle of eggs fetches stay-at-home mom Melissa $7,000 to $10,000. Melissa has endured the injections, tests, side effects and exams four times but has made $28,000.

"Since the economy isn't very strong, you don't know what tomorrow is going to bring, I thought it would be a really good idea," she said.

Melissa says it's worth it for health risks, such as infection and possible future infertility.

"Why not do it?" she said.

There has been a surge in donations of hair, eggs, sperm and blood for money. Egg donation agencies say donor inquiries have gone up 30 percent over the past year.

"It would be naive to suggest that there is no financial incentive for the donor. There clearly is," said Dr. David Cohen, University of Chicago Medical Center.

If money is your only reason, many experts say it's the wrong reason. Ask yourself some questions before trying to make quick cash.

"What's my consequence for the long term? What are the risks that I'm taking?" Cohen said.

Despite criticism from friends, Jamie and Melissa are sticking by their decision.

To donate eggs, a woman must first pass a series of psychological and physical tests. To donate hair, visit

For information on blood bank donations, visit:

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