Where to Sell Bone Marrow for Money + How Much You’ll Get Paid

Bone marrow is found inside large bones, such as the hip bone or pelvis. Marrow contains two types of stem cells and is responsible for creating white and red blood cells, bone, and cartilage. Bone marrow donations can help people who are living with lymphoma, leukemia, and sickle cell anemia, along with other medical conditions. Patients with these conditions sometimes receive bone marrow from someone else so that they can begin to produce their own red and white blood cells, bone, and cartilage without having to rely on blood donations. The stem cells within the marrow are also used for cancer research.

Donating bone marrow can be time-consuming and painful, and the donor selection process is rigorous. However, if you are willing to go through the process, you may be able to get compensation for your bone marrow donation. It is important to note that unlike donating things like blood, eggs, or sperm, donating bone marrow will not earn you per-donation pay.

Below, we provide the important information about bone marrow donation, including the donor requirements, expected compensation levels, the risks and benefits of this procedure, as well as where to donate bone marrow for money.

How Does Bone Marrow Donation Work?

There are two ways to donate marrow — donating marrow itself and donating peripheral blood stem cells (PBSC). These donation processes can take anywhere from one hour to multiple days. You do not get to choose the type of donation you make; the doctor will choose what is best for the patient receiving the bone marrow donation.

Donating bone marrow is a surgical procedure, and it only takes one to two hours. The procedure takes place in an operating room and usually requires general anesthesia, meaning you’ll be asleep for the whole thing. While you’re in surgery, the doctor will use a needle to withdraw the marrow directly from the pelvic bone. The procedure doesn’t require any stitches, and you should be able to leave the same day.

Before you can donate PBSC, you must receive a daily injection of a drug called filgrastim for the five days leading up to the donation. Filgrastim stimulates the production of PBSC, which means that the researchers end up with a higher number of useful cells after the donation.

Once you’ve received the necessary shot, you’ll go through a process called apheresis. This is basically like donating blood — blood is taken out of your arm through a needle, the necessary cells are filtered out of your blood, and then your filtered blood is returned to you through another needle. The process takes four to eight hours and may be spread out over two consecutive days. With advances in technology, this less-invasive method of extracting marrow is becoming more popular.

Note: Donations requiring filgrastim are called mobilized donations. Occasionally, researchers will offer the option for a donation that doesn’t require filgrastim shots. This is called a non-mobilized donation, and aside from not involving filgrastim, the process is virtually the same.

What We Recommend

For a donation center with locations in several states and that compensates for time, travel, and accommodations, consider registering with Be The Match. It is the largest bone marrow donation organization in the country, and it maintains the most active and widely used donor registry. DKMS is another good option for donating — it partners with hospitals around the nation to make donating as convenient as possible, and it also compensates for time and travel. DKMS may also reimburse you for lost wages if you take time off of work to donate.

For an option with a definitive compensation structure, consider Fred Hutch in Seattle. While it only has one location, if you are a good match for researchers’ needs, it may compensate you for your travel and it will pay set amounts for mobilized and non-mobilized donations.

Where to Donate Bone Marrow for Money

If you choose to donate bone marrow, there are only a few organizations that will pay you. This is because it is illegal in the U.S. to sell body parts for money, and since bone marrow is considered a body part – unlike blood – the few places that do accept bone marrow donations are all medical organizations that are compensating you for the time it takes you to donate. They are not paying you for the actual bone marrow.

These centers also don’t have very many locations, but most will compensate for your travel and lodging costs. Keep in mind that since bone marrow transplants require in-depth genetic matches (more than just matching blood types), centers have to be very selective in whose donations they can accept.

The following bone marrow donation companies compensate donors for the time spent traveling and donating marrow. We’ve ordered the list starting with the best overall options.

Be The Match

Be the Match manages and matches the more than 13.5 million potential blood marrow donors on its registry with people in need of life-saving marrow transplants. While Be The Match does not have locations in every state, it does compensate donors for travel, lodging costs, and meals when they travel to the nearest center.

  • Locations: Donation centers in California, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Texas, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wisconsin
  • Compensation: You’ll be compensated for travel costs, meals, and the costs of all medical procedures. Be the Match’s website also states that it may reimburse other costs on a case-by-case basis.
  • Payment type: Cash
  • How often can you donate? Be the Match will contact you whenever there is a match for your donation.
  • Donor requirements: To donate, you must be between 18 and 60 years old, not exhibit signs of a cold or other infection, and not be pregnant. If you’re in good health you should be just fine to donate. However, you won’t be allowed to register if you:
    • have asthma
    • have HIV or AIDS
    • have a severe medical arthritic condition such as rheumatoid, reactive, psoriatic arthritis
    • have autoimmune illnesses that affect your whole body
    • have received xenotransplant (live tissues from animals)
    • are severely underweight or have a BMI greater than 40
    • have any of the other medical conditions listed on the Be The Match website
  • Find out more or start the registration process

DKMS

DKMS recruits marrow donors and matches them with those in need of transplants, and it also works in researching blood cancer diseases and treatments.

  • Locations: DKMS partners with hospitals across the country to complete physical exams and donations.
  • Compensation: Varies by donation; DKMS covers the cost of travel and accommodations, and it can provide compensation for any lost wages if you take time off of work to donate.
  • Payment method: Varies
  • How often can you donate? You must wait at least 10 weeks between donations. For non-mobilized donations, the length of time between donations depends on the researchers’ needs. Due to a lack of research on the filgrastim shot, you can’t complete more than three mobilized donations in your life.
  • Donor requirements: You must be between 18 and 55 years old. You won’t be allowed to donate if you:
    • have donated blood within the last 72 hours
    • have symptoms of an infection, including a cold
    • have undergone leukapheresis within the past three weeks
    • are pregnant
    • have sleep apnea (can donate PBSC only)
    • have a BMI over 40
  • Find out more or start the registration process

Fred Hutch

Fred Hutch uses bone marrow and blood donations for research purposes to help find treatments and cures for diseases like cancer and HIV. Fred Hutch is the only lab in the United States that offers a definitive price for marrow donations ($300 for non-mobilized and $800 for mobilized).

  • Locations: One donation center in Seattle, WA.
  • Compensation: $300 for a non-mobilized donation and $800 for a mobilized one. You may also be able to get compensation for travel to the donation center.
  • Payment method: Check
  • How often can you donate? You must wait at least 10 weeks between donations. For non-mobilized donations, the length of time between donations depends on the researchers’ needs. Due to a lack of research on the filgrastim shot, you can’t complete more than three mobilized donations in your life.
  • Donor requirements: You must be between 18 and 70 years old. You won’t be allowed to donate if you:
    • have donated blood within the last 72 hours
    • have symptoms of an infection, including a cold
    • have undergone leukapheresis within the past three weeks
    • are pregnant
  • Find out more or start the registration process

LeukoLab

LeukoLab uses your bone marrow donations to research treatments and cures for diseases like cancer.

  • Locations: California and Massachusetts
  • Compensation: You’ll be paid based on what and how much you donate. This compensation level varies by donor and location.
  • Payment method: Check by mail within 10 business days of donation
  • How often can you donate? You can donate every 10 weeks, as long as there is a need. You’ll be contacted when researchers need more donations.
  • Donor requirements: You’ll have to fill out a screening questionnaire to see if you qualify as a donor. Things such as piercings, tattoos, sexual orientation, and recent travel do not disqualify you from being a donor.
  • Find out more or start the registration process

HemaCare

HemaCare uses bone marrow and blood donations for research purposes to help find treatments and cures for diseases like cancer, HIV, and diabetes.

  • Locations: Van Nuys, CA
  • How much money can you earn? How much you are paid depends on what you donate and how much.
  • Compensation: Varies by donor; you can call beforehand to get a quote.
  • Payment method: Not specified
  • How often can you donate? You can donate every 10 weeks, as long as there is a need. Once you register with HemaCare, you’ll be contacted when they need additional donations.
  • Donor requirements: To donate, you must be in good health and feeling well, be at least 18 years old, weigh at least 110 pounds, and not take any medications containing aspirin for 72 hours or ibuprofen for 24 hours before donating. You won’t be allowed to register as a donor if you:
    • have been diagnosed with HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis B, or Hepatitis C
    • have ever used needles to take drugs, steroids, or anything not prescribed by your doctor
    • are a male who has had sexual contact with another male, even once, since 1977
    • have ever taken money, drugs, or any other form of payment for sex since 1977
    • have had sexual contact in the past 12 months with anyone described above
    • have had syphilis or gonorrhea in the past 12 months
    • have been in juvenile detention, lockup, jail, or prison for more than 72 hours during the last 12 months
    • lived in or visited the United Kingdom, which includes England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, the Isle of Mann, or the Channel Islands from 1980-1996 for a total of three months or more
    • have spent five years or more (total) in Europe since 1980
    • have visited a malaria-risk country within the last year
  • Find out more or start the registration process

Other Ways to Make Money From Bone Marrow Donations

While there are legal restrictions for organizations wishing to compensate donors for their bone marrow donations, there are other ways in which you can be compensated for donating. Most centers, once they select you as a donor, add your name and information to a donor registry. Some individuals, families, and organizations choose to offer incentives for donors on registries to make donations when a match is found.

Incentives vary widely and are never guaranteed, but once you are included in a registry, it can be a good idea to keep an eye on any compensation being offered by those seeking transplants. As with the organizations, you will not be paid directly for the bone marrow — incentives will be in the form of things like scholarships or rent/mortgage payments while you are traveling or out of work while recovering from a donation.

The Risks and Benefits of Donating Bone Marrow

After a traditional, surgical bone marrow donation, you may feel some pain, bruising, stiffness, and swelling for up to two weeks. It should take less than a week for you to be able to return to school, work, or other regular activities. Otherwise, side effects are typically minimal for the normal marrow donation process.

For a non-mobilized donation, you may feel some localized pain and bruise at the needle-stick sites. Other effects are usually very limited.

If you decide to do a mobilized donation, you may experience flu-like symptoms. Most side effects will begin to subside within 48 hours of donation, and most donors report a full recovery within a week of the procedure. More serious side effects are possible but rare. Each laboratory listed above provides resources in the off-chance that you experience serious side effects following your donation.

Although there can be some pain and discomfort associated with bone marrow donation, your donation can save lives, both directly and indirectly. The bone marrow may go to a patient who needs it in order to survive, or it may go towards research for finding a cure for different types of cancer and genetic diseases.

In Summary

Donating bone marrow can be lifesaving for the recipients, and it could mean advancing the research to cure widespread and devastating diseases. There are only a few places in the U.S. that will provide any monetary compensation for donating bone marrow; and if they do, you should only expect to be reimbursed for your time and/or donation expenses, and not for the marrow itself. The organization with the largest donation network is Be The Match. It has locations in several states, and it will compensate donors for time, travel, and occasionally other costs. DKMS is another good option, as it partner with hospitals around the nation and will compensate for time, travel, and lost wages. For a center with a set compensation structure, consider Fred Hutch in Seattle. While it only has one donation center, it will pay either $300 or $800 for donations, and you may also be able to get compensation for travel.

If you’re looking for other medical ways to make money (far easier ways), check out our articles about how to donate blood for money and earn $500 per month and how to sell breast milk (plus the list of milk banks that pay for breast milk).

37 comments

    • Laura Bachmann says:
      First Quarter Finance logostaff

      Hi Angie,

      Because of the volume of comments we get, we can’t answer location specific questions that are unlikely to also answer future readers. I recommend getting in touch with Be The Match. They are a nationwide donation program, so there are participating hospitals nationwide and they could have one in the St. Louis area. Here’s their contact information.

    • Kathleen Wilson says:
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      Hi Robert,

      For all of the organizations listed in this article, you must donate to receive compensation. Be the Match will reimburse you for the cost of your travel and medical procedures but will not pay you additional money. The other organizations we’ve listed in this article will pay you for the actual donation.

  • Ashley Marie says:

    Are there any locations in Indiana where I would be compensated in cash for donating bone marrow?

    • Laura Bachmann says:
      First Quarter Finance logostaff

      Hi Ashley,

      It looks like Be the Match has an Indiana location. You can read more about the center here.

    • Laura Bachmann says:
      First Quarter Finance logostaff

      Hi Heather,

      You can try contacting Cleveland Clinic. They don’t say whether they compensate for donations, but they do say that they work to match donors and patients through Be The Match, which did make our list and does compensate. Otherwise, we weren’t able to find any centers in Ohio that pay for donations. If you’re willing to go a little farther, Be The Match does have centers in Indian, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. You can see their full list
      here.

  • I live in Louisiana and would be interested in donating bone marrow, where can I get the best price and what would the contact info for the best place I could go closest to me?

    • Rebecca Turley says:
      First Quarter Finance logostaff

      Hi Bobby,

      Not sure where you are in Louisiana, but the Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center has a number of locations in East Texas, near Louisiana, that may work for you. You can contact them at (713) 791-6697. Grifols also has locations throughout Louisiana. You can search for a donation center near you by entering your zip code.

  • Christina says:

    I would like to know if there is some where in Birmingham, Alabama or even Atlanta where I can donate with compensation.

    • Rebecca Turley says:
      First Quarter Finance logostaff

      Hi Christina,

      We could not find any centers that specifically focus on bone marrow donations, we recommend contacting LifeSouth Community Blood Centers, which has several donation centers in the Birmingham area. You can contact them at 205-943-6000. If they do not specialize in bone marrow donation, they should be able to direct you to a donation center that does.

    • Rebecca Turley says:
      First Quarter Finance logostaff

      Hi Ali,

      The NIH Clinical Center is located in Bethesda. Here’s more information about their donation program. They did not disclose what/if they pay for bone marrow donation, so you’ll want to check with them.

  • Hi I’m looking to donate mobile zed bone marrow do you know of anywhere in Oklahoma City that does this. If you know of a phone number that would be great and yeah I would like to know if there is compensation and how much thx.

    • Rebecca Turley says:
      First Quarter Finance logostaff

      Hi Matthew,

      I was unable to locate any mobile done marrow sites in Oklahoma City. You can search bethematch.org to learn more about the process and sign up on the nationwide registry for bone marrow donors.

  • hi, am arun from India, I like to sell my bone marrow in abroad places, how will I do..! what is the procedure..!I want do it

    • Rebecca Turley says:
      First Quarter Finance logostaff

      Hi Arun,

      Unfortunately, the process of selling your bone marrow in other countries can be vastly different than selling it in the U.S., so I can’t speak to the process in India. However, there is an India Marrow Donor Registry that looks like it can provide you with the information you need: http://mdrindia.org/

      • Hi admin, I understand you. So i need finish my registry and test, then after you will guide me for I’ll sell in us..!

        • Rebecca Turley says:
          First Quarter Finance logostaff

          Hi Arun,

          You will unlikely be able to donate in India and sell it in the U.S.

          • Yes Sir, I i not like able and sell in India, I like sell in USA, so, you will arrange travel plan, I’ll come to there. And sell in USA sir

          • Katrinia says:

            I am looking for a little extra cash and would like to sell my bone marrow, mobilized,if possible. Do you know of any facilities in Tennessee? If not, could you tell me the closest one? Thank you.

          • Rebecca Turley says:
            First Quarter Finance logostaff

            Hi Katrina,

            Blood Assurance has both location-based and mobile-based donations, many of which are in TN. You can do a search here: Good luck!

  • I live in long beach ca my blood type is o+ such I believe is universal but what is the. The average pay to give bone marrow I heard is very painful ..also do they provide transportation for testing

    • Rebecca Turley says:
      First Quarter Finance logostaff

      Hi John,

      Yes, the process can be painful for some donors, although your level of discomfort will depend on a number of factors, including the type of donation you make. We contacted HemaCare in Van Nuys and, unfortunately, they do not provide transportation for their donors. They were also unwilling to provide us with compensation figures for donors.

  • Habiburehman Bukhari says:

    I’m looking to donate bone marrow for cash i m very poor man from Afghanistan and i m looking cash for my children’s educations

    • Sarah Quinn says:
      First Quarter Finance logostaff

      Habiburehman,

      This article focuses on bone marrow donation in the United States. Are you interested in finding out more about bone marrow donating in the United States or in Afghanistan?

    • Hillary M. Miller says:
      First Quarter Finance logostaff

      Hi James,

      Most bone marrow donation centers are fairly limited in the region that they serve; unless you’re in the Bay Area, Quincy, Seattle, or Van Nuys, you may have trouble finding anywhere that will pay for bone marrow donation near you. (Be The Match is a nationwide registry for marrow donation, but these donors are only reimbursed, not actually paid.) You can consider donating blood plasma for compensation; this FQF article details the major national and regional plasma donation agencies to help you find one in your area. I hope this helps!

  • David Sawyer says:

    Do you know of any locations in Las Vegas that compensate for Bone Marrow donation

    • Hillary M. Miller says:
      First Quarter Finance logostaff

      Hi David,

      Unfortunately, I didn’t find any bone marrow donation agencies with locations in Las Vegas. However, Be The Match does offer the opportunity to participate in the donation program no matter where you live; air travel and overnight hotel stays can be arranged if you are matched with a patient in need. Note that Be The Match does not compensate donors, but it does reimburse them for any costs (including travel costs) incurred in the donation process. Visit the Be The Match FAQs page for more information. Best of luck if you decide to donate!

        • Hillary M. Miller says:
          First Quarter Finance logostaff

          Hi Sara,

          Unfortunately, the only major bone marrow donation centers that pay for donations at this time are located in the Bay Area of California; Quincy, Massachusetts; Van Nuys, California; and Seattle, Washington. (The nationwide Be The Match registry does not pay donors; it only reimburses them.) Sorry I couldn’t bring you better news!