Turn Yourself Into A Guinea Pig For Cash

If you’re looking for ways to scrounge up extra funds, the medical industry offers some outlets that might be worth looking into. While these methods of scrapping together supplemental income aren’t for everyone, they might become attractive given the right circumstances.

Money Crashers suggests several methods, including:

* Donate plasma. If you’ve got a couple hours to burn, you can stop by a plasma donation center, answer some questions about your health and activities, and then swap some plasma for cash. If you fear needles or the sight of blood, stay away.

* Participate in studies. Researchers pay out nominal fees for your participation in their work. Studies usually set parameters based on any imaginable criteria, but there’s usually plenty to choose from. If you’re interested, browse college bulletin boards or check out Craigslist or other classified ads.

* Donate sperm or eggs. This is a particularly lucrative outlet, especially for women, but donation isn’t an option for everyone. Those who seek to contribute baby-making materials must pass extensive screenings for factors including age, health and myriad other qualities.

5 Ways to Make Money With Paid Medical Research Studies & Donations [Money Crashers] (Thanks, Andrew!)


Edit Your Comment

  1. Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

    Not depicted: Ethical and legal dilemmas stemming from the donation of sperm/eggs.

  2. jmhart says:

    I’ve done a couple of studies in my time. Got $1400 for a 4 year anthrax vaccine study, that was my biggest one. Just barely missed out on a $1500/3-night psychological study. I’m sure that one would have left me scarred, but I sure would have enjoyed the $1500.

    Never donated. Couldn’t stand the thought of a bunch of unknown mini-me’s walking around out there. Saw a piece on 60 minutes or 20 questions or one of those shows about a guy that donated over 200 times. After the first kid came out of the woodwork, he made sure the bank locked his info down permanently. Freaked me out. Funny thing is, I was in college at the time and my mother was the one encouraging me to donate. Help pay for school and all.

    • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

      How did the anthrax study go? I got incredibly sick when I got the vaccine while in the Army and can’t imagine going through that again.

      The money was good but I never really liked the overnight studies.

    • milehound says:

      Your mother encouraged you to donate sperm? Cheezit, some moms will resort to anything for grandchildren!

  3. Cat says:

    “Turn Yourself Into A Guinea Pig For Cash”

    Ooooh, I don’t think I’d like to be a Guinea Pig, Buzz, teeheehee!

    What are the legal ramifications of transmogrification into another species, Hobbs?

  4. Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

    When I was in college, the big money maker was for those with fair skin. Having light skin makes you in demand for any kind of chemical tests, since redness, swelling, and blisters show up so easily. It was the same thing for blue eyes.

    It wasn’t a lot of money but I usually brought in about $2,000 or $3,000/year back in the mid-1990s doing research studies. The overnight ones paid the most but it also meant spending a weekend with a lot of questionable people.

    The psychiatric tests were the easiest and usually just involved blood tests (looking for genetic markers) and being asked about suicide and depression in about 100 different ways.

    Plasma was also easy but I always found it painful.

    It was the same thing with the skin tests but at least with those, you were allowed to go home to wait it out. The eye tests brought in the most money but were incredibly unpleasant.

  5. Rachacha says:

    One other way is to sign up for focus groups to give your opinion of products or promotions. Most of the ones that I have done have been 2 hours or less and typically pay $50-$150/hour to sit in a room and answer questions. I have been asked to:
    1) Install a Verizon DSL self installation to see if the instructions were clear
    2) Give my opinion on an advertising campaign for Chevrolet
    3) Give my opinion on several website redesigns
    4) Give my opinion on video projectors
    5) Give my opinion on new TV show pilots

  6. pop top says:

    Comparing sperm and egg donation is completely stupid and possibly dangerous. Women have to go through extensive, painful medical procedures to donate eggs, as well as being restricted from many activities, foods, drinking alcohol, etc.; it’s a complete, albeit temporary, lifestyle change; it’s not as easy or simple as masturbating into a cup. I think it’s a fair assumption to say that Phil has no journalistic integrity for being so flippant about something so important and possibly harmful.

    • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

      The pay is also significantly better for egg donation because of this.

  7. Pella says:

    For the record, in Canada you do not get paid for plasma donations.

    • Cat says:


      • Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

        Except Canadian Blood Services is run by the Red Cross, and therefore outside the jurisdiction of the Single-Payer Healthcare System.

        • Cat says:

          I guess a /s tag would have been helpful there.

        • Tunnen says:

          Canadian Blood Services is a completely separate entity that has no relation to the Red Cross. The Red Cross was the caretaker of the Canadian blood supply until 1998 when they were removed from this position due to a tainted blood scandal that caused the infection of 1100 Canadians with HIV and 20,000 with Hepatitis C.

          Canadian Blood Services was created as a non-profit organization to oversee the blood and stem cell and marrow registry. It is not a government agency, but It does receive public funding and is regulated by Health Canada.

    • Tunnen says:

      But you do get a juice box, tea or coffee and to pick from an assortment of cookies and other sugary snacks.

      Also, according to a study, donating a pint blood burns the equivalent of 650 calories. So you can use that to justify the burger you had. =P

  8. 4Real says:

    Ive done all these I made $5000 x 3 for egg donations.. great for girls in their 20’s

  9. Cat says:

    If you’re getting paid for plasma, you aren’t “donating”. Just sayin’

  10. Bob Lu says:

    Personally I will not join any test that involves “putting stuff into my body / doing things on me and seeing the effect”.

    And plasma donation and behavior studies pay poorly.

    The best tests you can et some good and more importantly, safe money from is the ones that only need to know how you normally are. Aka normal control group. For example I attended a knee related study as one of the healthy control group. All I had to do was taking a knee x-ray, giving 15mL of my blood and 10mL of my knee fluid. The while process took less than 30min and I got $115 for that.

    • RandomHookup says:

      Behavior studies usually pay between $10-15/hr. unless they require a blood draw or have difficulty finding subjects. Not great, but not bad if you don’t have anything else going on. Not worth an hour drive each way, but fine if it’s nearby.

    • veronykah says:

      I donated plasma for quite awhile, I was in a group donating in a Hep B program and was paid $75 a donation for my vaccinated plasma. They would allow people to donate up to 2x a week, about $600 / month. Not bad for an hour and a half of your time.

  11. RandomHookup says:

    From what I’ve read about the sperm donation ones, don’t bother if you aren’t above average looking and well-educated (and tall).

    • Cat says:

      And that’s my problem. Average looks, average height, and while I have a decent IQ (or at least I did before the late 70’s!), I have no higher degree to prove it.

      So, nobody would want to pay for my sperm, yet I have the most intelligent and beautiful kids – and I’m not just saying that because I’m the daddy.

      Moot point anyway, since I now shoot blanks.

    • Jane_Gage says:

      I called the best fertility clinic in the country. . .couldn’t tell me GRE or SAT scores, they pretended chiropractors were real doctors. . .”but the receptionist thought they were nice.” Lady, I don’t care if someone making seven dollars an hour would pick them up in a bar. All these stupid women want is 1. tall 2. funny.

  12. chizu says:

    Eggs donation could land you quite a bit of money. A few years ago I saw it on the school newspaper, with couples looking for very specific eggs (my school is very close to Princeton University): young healthy woman, with a certain level of education, height/weight requirement, specific lifestyle, specific looks (usually blonde hair blue eyes), etc. The payment started at $8,000, could go up to tens of thousands (or more!) easily. I’m sure that’s nothing shocking or new discovery. Sure it’s very good money, but eggs donation is also much, much, much harder than sperm donation. To some extent, I’m not sure if the payment is enough to compensate for what some women would have to go through…

  13. Jimmy the Spender says:

    Yikes. How bad of economic situation can a person be in for them to risk their health. This is really sad.

    • RandomHookup says:

      Not all of these will risk your health. Most are staring at a computer screen or having some blood taken or sleeping in a lab with a regulator over your nose or spending some time in an MRI.

    • Wolfbird says:

      If you think that sucks, I new an adopted kid who when he turned 18 and the government grants (or whatever they are called) dried up, his parents made him donate plasma to make up for it. Yes, he was literally adopted so his parents could collect money from him. I wish I was joking.

  14. shibotu says:

    How about selling a kidney? (yes, this is sarcasm)

    I might like focus groups and behavior studies if I could find them.

    • RandomHookup says:

      If you are near a big city, there are plenty of focus group companies — check Craigslist.

      Behavior studies are usually done at universities — check CL or check out the bulletin boards in the student center & psych department.

  15. jbandsma says:

    Signing up for studies was the only way I could get medical care before I got old enough for Medicare. Couldn’t get other insurance because I had too many “pre-existing” conditions. (Like being alive)