Fact Check: A Man Can NOT Just Donate A Testicle For $35,000 Cash

Fact Check

  • by: Sarah Thompson
Fact Check: A Man Can NOT Just Donate A Testicle For $35,000 Cash Didn't Qualify

Can a man receive $35,000 for donating one of his testicles? No, that's not true: It is not legal to sell your own body parts for organ donations. The testicle purportedly worth $35,000, according to the original story, was not intended to be a transplant. The payment was for participating in a clinical trial where a testicular implant would replace one of the real ones.

The claim that anyone could sell a testicle for $35,000 was a viral hit for the clickbait website now8news.com. Screenshots of the 2015 article circulated in meme form, as in this post (archived here) published on May 16, 2018. This post resurfaced again in May 2021.

The headline in the screenshot reads:

Donate A Testicle The Payout For This Is $35,000

This is what the post looked like on Facebook on May 21, 2021:

Facebook screenshot

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Fri May 21 16:57:23 2021 UTC)

The "Breaking News" chyron image included in the screenshot looks like it came from a real news broadcast of a station called Now8News, but this is a clickbait website that has no publicly facing information about who runs it. A mainstay of Now8news.com content are stories featuring gross, unlikely things that purportedly happened at a Walmart.

On August 25, 2015, now8news.com published an article titled, "Donate A Testicle The Payout For This Is $35,000." Lead Stories is only addressing Point 4:

4. Donate a Testicle. The payout for this is $35,000
On a episode of "Extreme Cheapskates" a Las Vegas man figured out a way to make some money by signing up for medical trials. He saved himself more than $750. That inspired him to take it one step further. Most recently he also agreed to donate one of his testicles. But they didn't just leave him hanging. They replaced it with an artificial one and paid him $35,000. It was reported that he used the money to purchase a Nissan 370 Z.

Mark Parisi is the man who frequently participated in clinical trials for payment and was on the November 6, 2013, episode of the TLC reality TV show. But he found out his test results disqualified him from being in the testicular implant trial. Instead of going under the knife and getting $35,000, he found a testosterone replacement study where he would be compensated about $500 a month for taking some pills.

The episode contains all the information needed to know the claims in the now8news.com article never happened. Parisi never had that surgery, never got an implant, did not get paid $35,000 and therefore couldn't have bought that car with the money. On the show he was advised by a doctor to not participate in this trial. Test results showed his testosterone level was well below the acceptable range for it. The specifics of this clinical trial are never stated in the show or any of the subsequent reporting (here, here and here) about this episode.

It is possible Parisi would not have been eligible to participate in such a trial regardless of his testosterone levels. Lead Stories found records of a clinical trial that seems to fit this description at this time period, but the only testicular implant trial we could find (here) was open to patients who underwent orchiectomy as a treatment for testicular cancer -- not volunteers just electing to have surgery.

The video embedded below is cued up to the moment in the episode of "Extreme Cheapskates" when Parisi gets the news that he will not be eligible to participate in the study:

The National Organ Transplant Act was passed in 1984, making it illegal to sell organs for transplanting, but can a testicle even be transplanted? A 2019 article on webmd.com says that there are only three known cases of a testicle transplant, all of them occurring between identical twin brothers.

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  Sarah Thompson

Sarah Thompson lives with her family and pets on a small farm in Southeastern Indiana. She founded a Facebook page and a blog called “Exploiting the Niche” in 2017 to help others learn about manipulative tactics and avoid scams on social media. Since then she has collaborated with journalists in the USA, Canada and Australia and since December 2019 she works as a Social Media Authenticity Analyst at Lead Stories.


 

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