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Mother Has the Right to the Placenta, US Court Rules

The placenta belongs to whom? To the mother or to the nursing home?

Clark County District Court Judge Susan Johnson of Clark County in Nevada, USA, has ruled in the mothers favour.

On Tuesday she granted a preliminary injunction, ordering Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center in southern Nevada to return the placenta to 30-year-old Anne Swanson.

The hospital had refused to give the uterine lining to Swanson following the April 12 Caesarean birth of her daughter, with officials calling it contaminated bio-hazardous waste.

The judge ordered the hospital not to destroy the placenta, which was frozen, and ordered that it be turned over to Swanson within two weeks.

When Anne Swanson gave birth to her first child in 2002, she had experienced postpartum depression, that feeling of extreme sadness that researchers believe is brought on by a severe hormonal plunge.

So Swanson didn't want to go through that again when, three weeks ago, she gave birth to her daughter, Maxanne by emergency Caesarean section.


Swanson had planned to give her placenta to a friend to be dried, ground into a powder and packed into capsules.

The theory is that excess hormones build up in the placenta during pregnancy, and new mothers can take the pills and replenish depleted hormones and control that down-in-the-dumps feeling some experience after childbirth.

The practice, known as placentophagy, is far from widespread and is received with great skepticism by more traditional medical experts. But among a small but vocal contingent of expectant mothers and proponents, it is strongly believed that the organ created by the woman's body to pass nutrients between mother and fetus and is expelled after birth is rich in chemicals t
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