26. Who owns your body?

Body Shopping cover

“This is what I think is really surprising to most people: you don’t actually own your body, in the sense that tissue taken from it and used afterwards is yours to use as you see fit.

“The law traditionally took the view that tissue, once it had left the body, was what was called ‘no one’s thing’.

“And it took that view because traditionally the tissue wasn’t of any value. It is modern biotechnology that has given it this value.”

This podcast is an extended version of an interview I did with Donna Dickenson for Blackwell Online about her book Body Shopping: Converting Body Parts to Profit.

We talked about the global commodification of the human body, from the sale of eggs and the “grave-robbing” of bones to gene-patenting.

Donna’s approach is not to sensationalize these issues, shocking though they often are, but to look at the big questions we as a society need to face in their ethical, legal and scientific context.

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