Want To Sell Your Poop? You Can -- No Sh*t!

Of all the things you can donate from your body donating your poop is not the one that is the first to come to your mind. This is a real thing and has a medical use as strange and disgusting as it may seem. OpenBiome is a nonprofit company that is actually paying people for their fecal matter. You can earn up to $13,000 a year if you qualify. So apparently you can take your end result all the way to the bank.

Woman on Toilet (Photo by brandi/Creative commons via Wikimedia)Woman on Toilet (Photo by brandi/Creative commons via Wikimedia)

These donated stool samples are used for life saving fecal transplants for people who are infected with Clostridium difficile, a bacteria that is very resistant to antibiotics. Infected people may experience flu-like symptoms which will progress to bloating, severe diarrhea, and abdominal pain. The infection puts about 250,000 people in the hospital annually, and on average 14,000 people die. This type of infection often occurs after antibiotic use when the natural flora of the intestines are not sufficient to handle the bacteria.

It turns out that the best treatment for this condition is a fecal transplant. Yep. Gross. In the past that has required tubes and such to insert the material directly into the gut of someone infected. Unbelievable as it seems, the treatment has been highly successful.

A newer, less invasive method of delivery has been created. Now small amounts of fecal matter are put in capsules and frozen. They thaw out as they pass through the esophagus and stomach, allowing the capsule to deliver its contents into the small intestine. The donated feces help repopulate the gut with the bacteria that keep the digestive tract healthy. The success of the treatment is about 90%.

Open Biome ships the capsules to hospitals ready to use. Of course all that crap has to come from somewhere. This is where the public comes in. The company recruits and pays people who are willing to commit to donating. While this may sound like just the thing to do to make some extra money it isn't quite that easy. First of all you have to live near their facility in Medford, Massachusetts. Each candidate must be vetted and approved to become a donor. Issues like health, BMI, and age come into play. There is also extensive screening of blood and feces.

Feces (Image via Shutterstock)Feces (Image via Shutterstock)

The going rate is $40 per donation. For people who come in 5 days a week there is a $50 bonus. Start doing that math and you are looking at making $13K if you are really dedicated. Don't get too excited though. Only four percent of people interested end up being approved.

So far the company has shipped more than 2,000 treatments to 185 hospitals nation wide. While C. difficile is the only thing that is being treated this way now, there is hope that other conditions, such as obesity, inflammatory bowel disease, perhaps even autism, may be treatable with the gut flora of healthy people.

I have to admit, as horrible as this sounds, if I was as sick as these people are, I would try this. Desperation would transcend my imagination.

Sources: IFL Science, Inhabitat