Some students become a temp or babysitter. Other students are selling their bodies.
Students can donate plasma for compensation or turn to the extremes of hair, sperm or egg donations.
“I heard that you could donate [plasma] and then I heard that you get paid to donate,” said Wil Smith, Boise State sophomore and computer science major. “I can do something good and put some extra money in my pocket.”
After meeting children who had benefited from taking medication made from plasma, Smith started donating. The compensation he received for his donations made it easier for Smith to pay his bills.
“It was perfect for me. My car payment was $150 and my insurance was $100 a month,” Smith said. “[Donating] almost made my car free.”
Grifols Biomat USA is a plasma donation center in Boise that offers compensation for donations. It gives compensation to encourage donation and thank donors for their time. Across town, Biolife also offers money in return for plasma donation.
“All the plasma collected at these plasma donation centers is then used by Grifols to produce the life-saving medicine that Grifols makes and distributes to our patients,” said Vlasta Hakes, director of public affairs for Grifols. “We have about 25,000 donors visit a center per day.”
While the center doesn’t track why people donate, Hakes believes students are one of the most likely demographics to donate. Students can donate up to twice every seven days.
“People come in for all different reasons,” Hakes said. “For college students I think one of the reasons is because they have a little more time on their hands. They come in and they can study, and do things while they’re donating. Time-wise it’s not as time-committing as having a full-time job.”
It is no secret that the compensation from donations can help supplement income, but donation centers see it as something more than a easy way to make money.
“We don’t see this as selling your body,” Hakes said. “Without these donors there would be patients across the [United States] and globally that would not be receiving their medicine. So the donors are extremely important.”
Students might consider selling other body materials for extra cash. Selling sperm or eggs, for example, can offer high compensation but requires more time per donation.
According to Egg Donation, Inc. the average time frame for a successful egg donation can be “as few as six weeks and as long as four months.” Donors can receive between $5,000 and $10,000 in return for one egg donation, typically containing 10 to 20 eggs depending on the woman’s normal
Women who donate their eggs must take hormones and regularly visit doctors to prepare for the invasive surgical process of removing eggs. Through the entire process egg donors cannot exercise, drink or have intercourse.
Donating sperm might seem as easy as opening a nudie magazine, but several requirements are in place for donors.
According to the Sperm Bank of California, men must meet a strict list of requirements to determine eligibility for genetic donation. To donate, a man must be older than 20 and younger than 39, be a certain height, have a college degree or be working towards one, and commit to the sperm donation program for a year or two college semesters for out-of-state students.
Both sperm and egg donors must reveal their family medical history, including histories of heart disease, mental illness and alcoholism. Donors must also disclose personal information about tattoos, experimental sexual experiences and drug and alcohol use.
Other popular body materials to sell include breast milk and hair. Donation locations in the United States are few and far between however, making hair exclusively an online market.