Omg I wrote a long post and lost it! So annoying!
This thread has been really interesting.
I was fascinated to get a guided tour of my placenta from my midwife after my bub was born. I was kind of in awe, and proud – look, me and my placenta sustained my bub for almost 9 months!
Didn’t want to eat it though. Not for me. Not enough of an evidence base… and… for me - blerg!
I thought about taking it home to plant in the garden, but ultimately it all felt too hard to organise saving it and getting it home, where would we put it, didn’t want it in the freezer, etc.
The legal questions have got me interested though. Yep, I’m avoiding other work today!
Firstly, I don’t think placenta encapsulation would be regarded as cannibalism. Cannibalism is generally regarded as eating the tissue or organs of another person. Even if it was considered ‘cannibalism’, I don’t think it’s illegal in Australia. Like @Moxy, I’m taking this from a quick Google search, and happy to be pointed to something showing that it is. It would generally be the related offences of murder, interfering with a corpse, etc, that would be illegal – and these would not apply here.
Secondly, I don’t think the placenta can properly said to ‘belong’ to the mother or the baby, as people don’t ‘own’ body parts or tissue (unless there’s some work or skill applied to transforming them in some way, which I’ll come to in a minute).
It’s generally illegal to sell human tissue – either your own or someone else’s. How an encapsulator can charge for doing this would be because they, firstly, charge for their services, and secondly, their application of work and skill has transformed the placenta into something that is capable of sale (ie it’s not just a ‘raw product’ anymore).
As to I think it was @Silver flute’s question about what regulates placenta encapsulation, I would say it’s fairly unregulated.
@J37, the Human Tissues Acts generally relate to donation, anatomy schools and post mortems, none of which are applicable here.
As to things that might apply – maybe the Therapeutic Goods Administration may have a role? It’s generally claimed that the placenta tablets have a therapeutic benefit – maybe they’d been considered a complementary medicine? There are also regulations about advertising of therapeutic products, or products claiming to improve health, etc.
It’s possible food standards legislation could be applicable too.
Ahem – ‘food’ for thought!
Yep – really should get to that work I have to do today