I‘ve donated plasma before, but never bone marrow. The thought of it always made me a bit uneasy. But it turns out that there is a very big unmet need for bone marrow, and it’s not that difficult of a process.
Is it possible, though, to get paid for donating bone marrow? Sort of. While you cannot currently get paid directly for the procedure itself, you can get all of your expenses paid when you donate. And some employers will give you paid time off to make the bone marrow donation.
And, there is a growing outcry to make it legal to pay bone marrow donors. So maybe one day you will be able to make big money from donating bone marrow.
What Does Be the Match Say About Getting Paid for Bone Marrow Donation?
Be the Match offers a registry service which matches patients and donors. According to their website, you will not be paid to donate. Womp, womp…
Be the Match will, however, cover the cost of the procedure as well as travel costs.
They also suggest they:
â€œmay reimburse other non-related costs on a case-by-case basis.â€
This is a bit open to interpretation, but I think if it came down to it, you could recieve compensation in some form.
Of course, donors never have to pay a fee to donate with Be the Match.
Other Places that Might Pay You to Donate Your Bone Marrow
StemExpress Donor Centers pay donors in the form of gift cards ranging from $25-$1,000 for your time.
If eligible, you can donate and be paid for each of the following procedures:
- Initial Donor Screening Appointment – $25
- Small Blood Donations – $50
- Large Blood Donations – $100
Apheresis (White Blood Cell) Donation – $150
Bone Marrow Donation – $250 to qualified donors
Mobilized Apheresis Donation – Up to $1000 to qualified donors”
Additionally, research centers such as Fred Hutch seem to also pay for bone marrow donations but details are not available online. Although, the Seattle Times reported that they do pay ($800 in one case) for peripheral blood stem cell donation, which is very similar to bone marrow donation.
Bone Marrow Donor Requirements
In order to become a donor, you must be between the ages of 18 and 60 years old with no recent illnesses or pregnancy, and you must not have:
- HIV or AIDS
- Rheumatoid, psoriatic, or other advanced arthritis
- An autoimmune disease affecting your entire body
- Have received xenotransplant (animal tissue transplant)
- Severely underweight or BMI higher than 40
- Lyme Disease
- Men who have sex with men
- Any other medical condition listed with Be the Match
Bone Marrow Donation Risks
As with any medical procedure, there are always potential risks involved. Common complications include damage to the nerve, bone, or muscle in your hip region as well as potential issues with anesthesia.
Approximately 2.4% of patients donating bone marrow experience complications.
Rest assured, you’ll be covered with a donor life, disability, and medical insurance policy for any complications related to donating bone marrow.
Bone Marrow Donation Recovery
The bone marrow donation takes place in a hospital as an outpatient procedure. You’ll check in the morning of the procedure, and the nursing staff will monitor you until the anesthesia wears off.
All hospitals use different equipment to extract the bone marrow, but most do not require stitches.
Many times, donors are discharged the same day or, at the very latest, the next morning (assuming there aren’t any complications).
Full recovery should take about three weeks, and you’ll be glad to know that bone marrow donations don’t weaken your immune system.
After donation, bone marrow fully replaces itself in four to six weeks.
How Many Times Can You Donate Bone Marrow?
This is a common question and one that cannot be answered definitively. When you sign up to become a bone marrow donor, you’ll be placed on a donor registry, and you may be contacted right away.
Alternatively, it could be years before you’re contacted (if ever) to make a donation.
Whether you’re called to donate depends on geographical location, blood type, and other factors.
Is Bone Marrow Donation Painful?
According to the National Marrow Donor Program, the actual bone marrow donation procedure for transplants is not painful, nor does it remove bone.
There is some discomfort that can result from bone marrow donation, but from what I’ve read in the personal accounts of bone marrow donation, there isn’t much pain other than the prick of the needle and a little soreness.
I’ll be honest, the thought of donating marrow used to strike fear in me. Somewhere along the way, I picked up that they have to put a needle into your bone and that it was very painful to remove the stuff. Thankfully, that just isn’t true these days with medical advancements. It’s very similar to drawing blood.
The procedure is usually done in a hospital under general anesthesia, and you donâ€™t feel a thing.
Why do I talk about the pain myths about this procedure? Well, because plenty of people sign up to be considered a donor of bone marrow, but when they are asked to actually donate, most people back out.
Some back out due to fear. Because of this, and because of the small percentage of people who are matched, you often hear stories of people who die before they can find a bone marrow donor.
The Future: Getting Paid for Bone Marrow Transplant Donation
To help combat the lack of donor enthusiasm, there is an effort to allow people to receive compensation, for donating to a marrow transplant. It just hasn’t resulted in change on the federal level.
Hereâ€™s why you should consider donating bone marrow with or without compensation.
Used to treat leukemia and lymphoma, bone marrow donations save lives. If youâ€™ve felt the urge to give to a good cause (but maybe arenâ€™t financially able to at this time), donating your bone marrow, blood plasma, and red blood cells is a great way to support the cause.
What’s the fear in letting people make money from bone marrow? People at the National Marrow Donor Program suggest that it would create a bad pool of donors–those that would lie about their health and behaviors. They have some other reasons as well for not wanting this change.
Other Ways to Donate Your “Body”
Here are some other (legal) ways you can make money with your body:
Donating blood plasma is an easy way to make up to $400 per month for just a few hours of your time. You will undergo a physical exam to ensure you’re healthy and eligible to donate.
You can donate two times every seven days, and while all donor centers have their own pay schedules and bonuses, you can easily earn up to $4,800 per year.
The process is easy and fairly painless. It takes about 45 minutes to an hour to donate, and you’ll be $50-75 richer.
Healthy men with healthy swimmers can earn up to $1,500 per month in extra side hustle income from donating sperm. Guys, you must be between the ages of 18 and 40, though 18-35 is ideal. You’ll have to pass a physical exam and provide a semen sample.
Once you get the all-clear to proceed, you’ll be asked to donate at least once a week, but ideally, you’d be able to donate 6-10 times per month. You’ll be asked to abstain from sexual intercourse for 2-3 days before your sample is given to increase fertility.
What about sperm from unvaccinated men? Many folk who didn’t take the jab are wondering “how much is unvaccinated sperm worth?” This is a great question! The jury is still out on this. As with everything related to this issue, so much is still developing. I can understand why some couples want to put their best foot forward here.
Donating Eggs for Money
Egg donation is one of the most lucrative ways to make money through medical procedures. According to the Center for Human Reproduction, the average egg donor earns $8,000 per successful egg retrieval. You can earn up to $14,000 in special cases where you qualify and produce a higher number of eggs.
Local NYC donors must be between 21-34 years old. For women traveling to NYC from outside the metropolitan area, age requirements are 21-29 years of age.
Because egg donation is a more invasive procedure, requiring the administration of hormones and egg retrieval under IV sedation, it pays a hefty fee.
What do you think about bone marrow donation? Should you be able to make money on the procedure, similar to plasma donation? Leave your response in the comment section below.