If you get into a financial bind, is it legal to sell body parts you might not want or need in New York State? It is your body, right? Hear me out...this isn't any type of zombie fan fiction. But consider this...you're not in a good place financially, and there are people who need kidneys, right?  You feel like you could live a good life without one kidney since you don't drink and you take care of yourself.  Can you legally sell it? Or maybe, God forbid, your life is limited to a short amount of time due to a condition or disease (with a medical confirmation). Could you sell a body part, upon your death, that isn't affected by whatever is killing you?

Let's take a look at what the law says about selling your body parts in New York.

Photo by v2osk on Unsplash
Photo by v2osk on Unsplash

You might be thinking, at this point, this chick is CRAZY to even consider this discussion. But, we can legally donate our body parts upon our death, so why not consider making money off them? And I'm sure you've heard the urban legend about a person at a bar being drugged and taken back to a seedy hotel, only to have their organs removed to be sold on the 'Black Market' and waking up in a bathtub filled with ice. What if we could take control? What if we can decide what to give, who to give it to, and how much we're going to charge for it? It sounds like a scenario from a dystopian movie on Hulu, but here's what the law says about it:

There is a federal law that basically says we can't profit from our own bodies. The National Organ Transplant Act of 1984 provides guidance when it comes to providing human organs for transplants. Title 42, section 274e of the U.S. Code provides a legal framework for the selling of organs,

Section 301 of the National Organ Transplant Act (“NOTA” or “Act”), entitled 'Prohibition of organ purchases,' imposes criminal penalties of up to $50,000 and five years in prison on any person who 'knowingly acquire[s], receive[s], or otherwise transfer[s] any human organ for valuable consideration for use in human transplantation if the transfer affects interstate commerce.

Photo by Kira auf der Heide on Unsplash
Photo by Kira auf der Heide on Unsplash

But there are several exceptions...

See here's the thing, there are quite a few things you can do with body parts or bodily fluids to make some money. Anyone who has been tight on cash has most likely thought about selling blood, plasma or...uh...sperm (obviously this only applies to only men with semen). But, there are other parts you can legally sell or rent out in New York:

* Hair - Human hair wigs are all the rage right now. It seems like everyone is gluing a lace front to their scalp in an effort to have a luscious mane.
* Eggs - Women can sell their eggs. Couples who may be experiencing infertility might consider purchasing eggs as an option for having a baby.
* Womb - Just like eggs, a woman may rent her womb out to persons trying to have children.
* Breast Milk - Women can sell their milk to mothers who are struggling to or can't produce their own.
* Bone Marrow - Like sperm or plasma, bone marrow can be legally sold.
* Skin - No, not like selling it to Buffalo Bill in Silence of the Lambs to make a skin suit, but rather renting space to companies who are looking for an opportunity to advertise through very untraditional methods.
* Placenta - You can sell placenta-based products
* Your Whole Body - This would seem to go against the law - to clarify, it's not selling your body parts individually, but rather renting it out - allowing yourself to be a subject for scientific tests.

Photo by Ben Berwers on Unsplash
Photo by Ben Berwers on Unsplash

As it would turn out, in the United States, you can sell your body parts...once you're dead and can't enjoy any of the profits. It sounds so American, irony and all - nope, you can't make money selling your body or body parts while you're alive, but once you're dead, it's fair game.

According to Reuters,

It’s illegal to sell human fetuses. Otherwise, yes: In almost every state, it’s legal to sell the human remains of adults. One misconception promoted by some brokers is that it is illegal to sell body parts and that people who distribute them may only be reimbursed for processing, shipping and other expenses. In most states, such laws only apply to transplant organs, such as hearts and kidneys, and to tissue, such as skin and bone. But in almost every state, these laws do not apply to whole cadavers or to parts, such as torsos, shoulders and heads.

If you are considering becoming an organ donor in New York,

The need for organ, eye and tissue donors is great. There are almost 8,500 New Yorkers that need a life-saving organ transplant. You have the power to Donate Life. All New Yorkers 16 years old and up can register to save lives by signing up as an organ, eye and tissue donor. By joining the New York State Donate Life Registry, you record your consent to be a donor.

You can find more info here. And finally, you can always lend your ear to a friend in need lol.

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