It looks like paying off your student loans might be easier than you thought: using minimal effort and doing what nature intended could lead to lucrative supplemental income — if you are willing to sell your poop. Yes, you read that correctly — a non-profit research institute’s mission to cure gastrointestinal maladies means that you can sell your poop for $13,000 a year.
It sounds like a weird, debt-fueled fever dream that you might have after watching The Human Centipede, but fecal microbiota transplantations (FMTs) are actually saving lives. FMTs are made from the healthy bacteria living in human stool and can cure infections with only one dose. OpenBiome, the organization itching to pay you big bucks for your poo, has been using FMTs to treat people with Clostridium difficile, a nasty infection that eats away at intestinal lining and can leave the infected person bedridden and unable to lead a normal life. C. difficile is more common than you would think — nearly 500,000 people are infected every year and, according to OpenBiome, at least 14,000 people die. Luckily, FMTs have proven to be a miracle cure for sick patients, possessing a 90 percent success rate for eliminating the infection. So get pooping, people!
The process isn’t as gross as it sounds. OpenBiome removes “fiber and bulk” from stool samples before it is homogenized, filtered, and finally given to a patient. The treatment can de delivered through colonoscopy, enema, nasal tubes, or a pill. And the money for your, uh, donation is enough to support your online shopping habit… yes, we know about that. Donors earn $40 per sample and a $50 cash bonus if they contribute five times in one week, adding up to generous $250 a week for something that you are just going to waste anyways. However, unfortunately for all you entrepooneurs, becoming a donor is no easy feat. The screening process is so incredibly thorough that only 4 percent of applicants become donors, and OpenBiome currently only has 16 active donors. But hey, who says that the 17th can’t be you?
OpenBiome’s success — they have already delivered 2,000 treatments to around 200 hospitals — could change the way that science uses feces. But science might actually be a bit behind here — humans have been using animal poop in creative ways for centuries. Ancient Egyptians used crocodile dung as spermicide, Thailand uses elephant “patties” to make paper, and Americans in World War I used guano to make gunpowder.
So next time that you feel embarrassed to poop in public, don’t. You aren’t simply using the restroom — you are producing life-saving material! And that’s pretty cool.