Everyone with a driver's license knows that you can donate your blood and internal organs, but a nonprofit in Boston has found a goldmine of a transplant opportunity in your lower intestine: poop.
According to the Washington Post, medical nonprofit OpenBiome has been marketing in fecal transplant material since 2013, shipping loads of, um, loads across the country. Those samples are transplanted into people suffering from an infection of the toxin-producing organism known as Clostridium difficile, which eats away at an infected person's intestinal lining and can leave them unable to leave their homes. This donated fecal matter can make a huge difference in the quality of life for people suffering from the infection. And it earns donors $40 per sample, plus a $50 cash bonus for five donations in one week. That's $250 for a week of donations, or a potential $13,000 a year.
It's a miracle of science. The stool samples are frozen, shipped around the country and administered to patients with an endoscopy, nasal tubes or swallowed poop capsules. The bacteria found in healthy human intestines restore the normal balance to the bacteria in the patient's digestive system, recolonizing the infected intestine and hopefully curing the person suffering from C. difficile.
But don't run to the nearest Porta Potty with dollar signs in your eyes just yet. "It's harder to become a donor than it is to get into MIT," OpenBiome co-founder Mark Smith told the Washington Post. Only 4% of interested donors have passed the extensive (and expensive) medical and stool testing required to start donating fecal matter. "We get most of our donors to come in three or four times a week, which is pretty awesome," Smith said. "You're usually helping three or four patients out with each sample, and we keep track of that and let you know."
If the money's not enough, OpenBiome also offers its donors free drinks, competitions for most donations and even prizes. Creating ways to pay us for our bowel movements — is there anything science can't do?