Healthy blood from gluten-free vegan source. Non-smoker, non-drinker, no major health concerns. I work out regularly and take care of myself. Full documentation of foreign travel, sexual history and medical information available upon request.
Why isn’t there a system in place where healthy people can market their blood for a higher price?
Consider this if you are one of the millions of people this year who will enter the hospital for an elective surgery, an emergency treatment…A large percentage of the donor population sells the blood that you may be about to receive. These donors are among the lowest on the socioeconomic ladder. They are desperate people looking for some quick cash, unemployed men with alcohol problems, college-age kids trying to make rent in between experiments with sex and drugs, people who have no safety net and have to scrape together a dollar in any way they can.
It is safe to say that many of these people are ones you would not consider shaking hands with if you met them, let alone have unprotected sex with, but you are about to accept their bodily fluids nevertheless. Don’t want to take my word for it? Walk into any paid donation center in any city and see if that doesn’t change your mind.
True, to donate, you fill out some forms, volunteer information about your health and status. The key word being “volunteer.” No one checks you for recent tattoos or sketchy-looking sores. Donated blood is tested, but only for what shows up at the moment the blood is being drawn.
Blood is vital to the overall functioning of the body. Introducing a new source, foreign to your body, puts a stress on your system. The need to introduce blood at all means there was already a major issue in progress–surgery, traumatic injury. This should heighten a recipient’s motivation to find the best possible source.
Beyond the fear of major disease-causing content, recipients should want to attempt to secure the best possible sample of blood to give themselves a better boost to recovery and to stave off any unforeseen consequences of introducing a stranger’s blood into their own system.
The body builds blood using the materials we put into it as fuel. Its composition is a reflection of our own health and habits: what you eat, how much you smoke, if you exercise, your age, hormone levels, stress, where you work, if you’re pregnant, how much water you drink, your sexual habits–all of these play a role in affecting the state of your blood. It is not at all the same in composition and effect across the spectrum of donors.
So why don’t we have an open market for our blood? One where people can bid to obtain a better product? I have increased costs involved in maintaining my health. Shouldn’t I be able to charge more for a better quality item?
Blood is already bought and sold routinely. That blood is then used not just to save lives, but to give that starlet a breast enhancement or nose job. I don’t want my blood to go to such a cause. I don’t want to donate for free to a hospital that will charge the patient for receiving my donation.
I used to be one of those who donate out of altruism. One of the main reasons I ceased to donate was government regulation of the procedure. The sites on the body from which blood can be collected are limited by these rules. I am willing to give, but not willing to accumulate repeated damage to two small areas of my body, two of the most painful spots from which to draw blood. Veins are not made to be abused in that way.
For now, my blood remains my own. Hopefully, some free-thinking entrepreneur will stumble upon the idea, realize the market that exists for the product and put a system in place where I can get a return on my investment in health.