How Far Would You Go to Get Out of Debt? Blood, Sperm, Garbage?

NEW YORK (MainStreet)—Before the Great Recession the word 'income' used to be solely associated with one's salary at a part-time or full-time job. However, since the onset of the recession five years ago, many Americans are reassessing how they generate income.

Here are four income-generating options that have stepped out the shadows as Americans have felt the pinch in their pocketbooks.

The Plasma Plan

Donating plasma for money used to be a practice isolated for the outskirts of 'normal' society, which included drifters and poor college students. Now, plasma donation centers have seen an increase in professionals donating for additional income. The hour-long process is sedentary and those who donate enjoy using the time to balance checkbooks, complete work assignments and homework. While receiving the income you are helping assist with the hundreds of medical procedures that utilize blood plasma.

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"We saw an over 50% increase in donations over a few months after the recession hit," says Phil Maher, founder of "This is an alternative for a lot of people because it requires minimal skill and time. This is an alternative for a lot of people because it requires minimal skill and time."

What it Pays: You can donate plasma twice a week, and payment is often a tiered system, meaning that you can receive more the second time than the first time. Payments range between $20 to $60 per donation for an average of about $300 per month.

Generating Green From Your Genes

Sperm donation used to be a comedy punch line and hush-hush topic, until recent years.

"The increased interest we have seen from the general population is unlikely due to the economic environment but rater due to more readily information and media coverage regarding the topic," says Angelo Allard, a spokesperson for the Seattle Sperm Bank.