If Professor Barney got desperate enough....he’d rig up some research project to suggest that eating sauerkraut and drinking Doctor Pepper....would delay menopause. After a month or two...some foundation would appear, and put two million dollars into the Professor’s project. Figure it’d take three years to squandor the money....so the Projessor and his five helpers would just sit around....eating most of the sauerkraut they bought, and drinking cases of Doctor Pepper. They’d produce a paper, and move onto the next research project.
Actually, that is quite true (that researchers aren't in it for the money).
Most basic research is done by graduate students, who typically earn very little as compared to other BA/BS level college graduates, below $20,000/year. A post doctoral researcher would earn between $36,000 and $61,000. The average PhD salary in 2013 is $93,000.
It takes around 6 or 7 years to get a research PhD. That is a lot of time to spend still in school earning a pittance while other college graduates' average starting salaries are $44,000.
I have read analyses that there is *no* financial benefit to earning a research PhD, since it keeps a person in school (graduate and post-doctoral) for such a long time at low pay.
Any MD earns more than a PhD. Family practitioners, the lowest paid MDs, start at an average of $138,000.
To make a long story short, no one chooses research as a career for the money. They do it for the love of advancement of human knowledge.
Please note: I am making *no* comment on egg donation.