More New Yorkers selling sperm, eggs and hair for extra cash
Whether its to pay for rent, mortgage or school tuition during these tough times, New Yorkers are more often trying to make money off natural resources their own hair, sperm and eggs.
TheHairTrader.com reports a four to five-fold increase nationwide in listings from people selling their hair while New York City sperm and egg banks are reporting having up to twice as many inquiries.
Business is flying, said Melinda Mullin, a spokeswoman for TheHairTrader.com, which currently has 8,500 listings of potential hair sellers. The whole economy has driven the numbers up.
Hair sellers postings are rife with economic reasons to sell their hair with sales ranging from $600 to $3,000, Mullin said. Women can get up to $10,000 for donating eggs, while men can make about $100 for a sperm donation.While sperm and egg donor agencies dont necessarily know the reason people are trying to sell, the number of applications has increased since the economy took a nosedive. Andre Speckert, 21, a film student and personal trainer who lives in the East Village, said he twice donated sperm for money during a particularly tough time.
I had to pay for rent and tuition, he said. It was a lean month. I probably wouldnt do that again unless Im really strapped.
He is not alone. At The Sperm Bank of NY, theres an 18 to 25 percent increase in applications since December, said Albert Anouna, its director and CEO. However, when Anouna warns potential applicants they will not be paid for several months while a battery of regular screenings are done on them, potential donors start shying away.
Its very involved, he said. Its not a casual come today, well give you money. Its not an open invitation to just walk in.
However, those who pass the screening can make up to $10,000 over 12 to 18 months for donating twice a week.
There are also a lot of variables that also rule out a donor, which ironically could include economically induced stress, he said.
They may be under a lot of stress to the point where their sperm count might be affected, Anouna said.
Similar to sperm donor applicants, while the number of women wanting to sell their eggs has doubled at one local program, very few end up qualifying to donate, said Kathy Benardo, co-owner and egg donor program manager at the Northeast Assisted Fertility Group.
We get a dozen inquiries every day and maybe Ill make a hundred matches a year, she said. The vast majority dont make it.
While money is usually the reason many sell eggs, sperm or hair, many give of themselves for reasons that dont pad the wallet. Olena Borkovska, 18, of Bensonhurst, considered donating her eggs after reading an article about couples struggling to get pregnant.
[I] thought maybe I should do that some day, she said. It doesnt seem dangerous. If my hair grew faster Id probably sell that too.