This List Shows Exactly What On Your Body You Can Donate And How To Do It

If you can survive a haircut, you’re in good shape to donate SOMETHING.

Make no mistake: Donating money to most any type of charity is a good, worthwhile act. But as is the case inherent to medical causes, money can’t replace (or purchase) many body parts (organs, fluids, cells) of which people are in dire need. So based on your financial situation, health, and overall personal preference, you might want to consider skipping the financial support and donating parts of your own body.

Of course, depending on the body part and your attachment to it (pun completely intended), this could be a big sacrifice or a small one. No one can make the choice except for you, but we’re happy to provide a list of items on your body that could help people in need, so take a look and see if any of these items seem like something you wouldn’t mind parting with, especially since many replenish themselves.


In a medical capacity, hair’s used for wigs for men and women who have lost their hair, either due to a specific condition or, more likely due to chemotherapy. It’s solely cosmetic, but the reality is that the ravages cancer can take on a person’s appearance greatly affects their quality of life, confidence, and self-worth, so it’s not a trivial matter.

There’s less standardization among these charities since medical implications are non-existent. Generally, your hair needs to be ten inches long (some places accept eight), and sometimes coloring or treatment will preclude you from donating, and other times it won’t. It’s best just to snoop around the handful of charities and find one that works with your hair and preferences. The American Cancer Society and Locks of Love are great places to start.


Blood’s needed by trauma victims those with blood disorders, which are large enough groups to put this in high demand. There are some restrictions on who can and should donate, but if you’re in good health, you’re likely a viable candidate. Blood banks are everywhere, including in vehicles, and blood drives pop up all over the place. Find the most convenient place to give right here.

Oh, and January’s the best time to donate, so get on it.


Sperm donations exist for prospective parents (couples or singles) who need some sperm to make a baby. You know the drill. This is one of the least invasive donation processes for men with the only real requirement for approved donors being that they need to donate in a very specific window so that the sperm is still vital at the time it’s preserved.

Men will be screened for height, weight, medical history, and genetics. Fellas, find your local sperm bank here. Some pay up to $50 per donation, but if you’re being truly charitable, you probably realize that sperm banks aren’t awash in money, so you can forego it. Or take the cash and donate it elsewhere.

Bone Marrow

This is a bigger one, but the importance of this donation corresponds to the hardships donees face. Those suffering from leukemia, lymphoma, and autoimmune disorders are often on the waiting list for bone marrow transplants. Unlike blood, the likelihood of a donor matching a donee is far smaller, so more people need to get out there and get tested for those in the queue. Testing will put you on a registry, and you won’t undergo the procedure unless there’s a match in the waiting.

Younger people (under 45) are the most effective donors because their cells lead to more successful transplants, but there are exceptions, so don’t take the age limit as a hard and fast rule. Get on the National Bone Marrow Registry and make a difference to someone who may be in desperate need.

Note: You might have heard that donating can be painful and debilitating, with a giant needle injected into your hip or another bone for extraction. These days, things are less...terrible. You’ll take medication that causes marrow to release stem cells into your blood. You’ll donate a bunch of blood and a machine separates the stem cells from the plasma. Much better, right?

Breast Milk

When babies are born prematurely, their mothers often aren’t far enough along in pregnancy to begin lactation. This is problematic because, although alternatives exist, natural breast milk is the best nutrition for the babies.

Of course, the universe of people producing breast milk at any given time is finite, so this is one of the more opportunistic donations on the list. Unfortunately, there’s enough going on with women producing breast milk (like their new children consuming it) that it’s not the most convenient time, but that’s the way it is. If you are pumping breast milk, pumping more is the only way to satisfy the premature babies in need.

Generally, organizations look for moms who have given birth in the past 12 months, but there are exceptions. The best advice is to find a local milk bank and see what the rules are. You’ll almost certainly be interviewed and blood tested and possibly submit doctor’s notes as to your health. Honestly, it’s an inconvenient process, especially for the moms of newborns, but hopefully you’ll see it as a worthwhile means to an end.

Umbilical Cord Blood

You have umbilical cord blood lying around, don’t you? Unfortunately, the answer is almost certainly, “no,” which is a shame because it’s teeming with stem cells that can be used to take on many of the same maladies that bone marrow donations do. As you would expect, the window to donate umbilical cord blood is extremely small (basically moments after birth), and you’ll need to prepare the paperwork a few weeks beforehand because you won’t want to be doing it while you hold your newborn.

A questionnaire, which is actually from the National Marrow Donor program, will get you started.

Your Vital Organs or Your Whole Damn Body

So it’s come to this. You’re dead and are no longer in need of your organs. That’s sad, but there’s a silver lining. If you’ve prepared your affairs (basically just registered as an organ donor), you’re in a good position to help a LOT of people who really could die without those organs you’re hanging onto. There are religious ceremonial reasons not to, but think long and hard about whether your humanity trumps those. You’re dead. Religion’s already done with you what it will*.

*That might be a total lie, depending on your religion, but I’m here to talk about organ donation, not theology.

The nice thing about this type of donation is that you really don’t have to do a thing but fill out the form. The doctors will sort out your various organs, and you’ll be unable to help them because, again, you’re dead. Sorry to keep bringing that up, but it’s kind of the crux of this whole process.

You’re also able to donate kidneys, parts of your liver, and select few other organs without being dead. Talk to the American Transplant Foundation about your considerations and they’ll steer you through that process.

You can register with your driver’s license or here to find your state’s registry. And if you’re interested in helping the process along while you’re living, you can make cash donations to the American Transplant Foundation, which works very hard to make sure this system saves as many lives as possible.

Oh, and if you’d rather your body go to “science,” which can mean many different things, you can check out ScienceCare. Your body may not directly save a life in this instance, but it could help educate a lot of people who undoubtedly will. And that’s cool, too.

Either way you should choose to donate your body, you’re also minimizing funeral costs to some degree, so that can benefit your surviving loved ones.

Hopefully, there’s an appealing avenue of action on this list. And if you’re just not inclined or can’t for any reason (and there are plenty), assuage any guilt by finding another worthwhile manner to help those who might not have, yet need, what you do.

Julian Meehan

Young leaders from around the world are gathering at the United Nations Headquarters in New York Saturday to address arguably the most urgent issue of our time. The Youth Climate Summit comes on the heels of an international strike spearheaded by Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old climate activist from Sweden, who arrived in New York via emissions-free sailboat earlier this month.

Translated from Swedish, "berg" means "mountain," so it may feel fated that a young woman with Viking blood in her veins and summit in her name would be at the helm. But let's go out on a limb and presume Thunberg, in keeping with most activists, would chafe at the notion of pre-ordained "destiny," and rightly so. Destiny is passive — it happens to you. It's also egomaniacal. Change, on the other hand, is active; you have to fight. And it is humble. "We need to get angry and understand what is at stake," Thunberg declared. "And then we need to transform that anger into action."

This new generation of activists' most pernicious enemy is denial. The people in charge — complacent politicians and corporation heads who grossly benefit from maintaining the status quo — are buffered from real-life consequences of climate change. But millions of people don't share that privilege. For them, climate change isn't an abstract concept, but a daily state of emergency, whether it comes in the form of "prolonged drought in sub-Saharan Africa…devastating tropical storms sweeping across Southeast Asia, the Caribbean and the Pacific…[or] heatwaves and wildfires," as Amnesty International reportsare all too real problems people are facing on a regular basis.

RELATED: Greta Thunberg urges people to turn to nature to combat climate change

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet

Millions of people in over 150 countries across the globe marched for lawmakers and corporations to take action to help stop climate change on Friday, September 20.

The Climate Strikes were organized by children around the world as an extension of the of the "Fridays for Future" campaign. Students have been walking out of classrooms on Fridays to speak out about political inaction surrounding the climate crisis.

"We need to act right now to stop burning fossil fuels and ensure a rapid energy revolution with equity, reparations and climate justice at its heart," organizers say.

There's no doubt the visual images from the marches send a powerful message to those on the ground but especially those watching from around the world. GOOD's own Gabriel Reilich was on the scene for the largest of the Climate Strikes. Here are 18 of the best signs from the Climate Strike march in New York City.

Keep Reading Show less

September 20th marks the beginning of a pivotal push for the future of our planet. The Global Climate Strike will set the stage for the United Nations Climate Action Summit, where more than 60 nations are expected to build upon their commitment to 2015's Paris Agreement for combating climate change.

Millions of people are expected to take part in an estimated 4,000 events across 130 countries.

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet
via Apple

When the iPhone 11 debuted on September 10, it was met with less enthusiasm than the usual iPhone release. A lot of techies are holding off purchasing the latest gadget until Apple releases a phone with 5G technology.

Major US phone carriers have yet to build out the infrastructure necessary to provide a consistent 5G experience, so Apple didn't feel it necessary to integrate the technology into its latest iPhone.

A dramatic new feature on the iPhone 11 Pro is its three camera lenses. The three lenses give users the the original wide, plus ultrawide and telephoto options.

Keep Reading Show less
via I love butter / Flickr

We often dismiss our dreams as nonsensical dispatches from the mind while we're deep asleep. But recent research proves that our dreams can definitely affect our waking lives.

People often dream about their significant others and studies show it actually affects how we behave towads them the next day.

"A lot of people don't pay attention to their dreams and are unaware of the impact they have on their state of mind," said Dylan Selterman, psychology lecturer at the University of Maryland, says according to The Huffington Post. "Now we have evidence that there is this association."

Keep Reading Show less