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  1. #1
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Default Who owns your body?

    That might seem like an absurd sort of question but with the rise of biotech it actually is a good question, did you know in at least UK law that if you have tissue removed from your body it no longer belongs to you?

    It was established at first that it belonged to no one but more recently with the Genome project, but also back in the mid seventies, there have been corporate moves to patent genes or to establish in law that if someone has tissue removed or donates it then it no longer belongs to them.

    Meaning that tissue could be removed from you in one procedure, it goes off and is used to create billion dollar cell lines because you could have a rare cell type or something.

    Then there is the issue of organ buying and selling, everyone knows the horror story about people on holiday being drugged and having their kidneys stolen by student doctors, that's one horror.

    There's the other horror that people in poverty traps in the developing world who actually may have healthier organs because of taboos on alcohol or food shortages could be exploited either through free trade which places them in a position where the temptations to sell are too great, there are perverse incentives to supply, or because they live in a corrupt regime and the authorities are willing to harvest them or compell them into it.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Beargryllz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    That might seem like an absurd sort of question but with the rise of biotech it actually is a good question, did you know in at least UK law that if you have tissue removed from your body it no longer belongs to you?
    Yes.

    I would hope that any individual responsible, even if through a cheek swab, for some massive medical breakthrough would relish not in the excessive royalties he or she may be entitled to, but in the lives they enrich and sustain. To put it another way, I've donated blood a few times, but I never followed up to see if any of my "recievers" made it big in life after my life-saving fluids began coursing through their now-working bodies. Not that I COULD do this, but even if I could, I don't think I would want to.

    I imagine the organ thieves will run out of business after tissue reconstruction becomes more mainstream and easy to implement (at least in the developed world). When will the last kidney be stolen? I have no idea, but the frequency of these incidents per capita should decrease from this point on. Should.

  3. #3
    insert random title here Randomnity's Avatar
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    From the other perspective, can you imagine how difficult it would be to advance medical knowledge if every time we used a cell line for something, we had to get consent from the owner? Some of the more popular ones are used by thousands of labs worldwide, would you even want to have to deal with that?

    I believe in most countries you have to consent to the original donation, though I don't know what kind of greedy, spiteful person would rather throw out their cancer cells (for example) rather than letting them be used to save lives, anyway. Honestly I really don't get it, it's not like it has any other value or use. I suppose you could feed it to animals....

    Do you think the net effect on society would be positive or negative if scientists were forced to pay a lot of money for tissue samples? I'll give you a hint, most science isn't profitable on its own; salaries and costs are typically maintained through government or university funding and charitable donations.
    -end of thread-

  4. #4
    Order Now! pure_mercury's Avatar
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    I think we should remove the taboo from putting monetary value on tissue and organs. Donation rates are far too low as it is.
    Who wants to try a bottle of merc's "Extroversion Olive Oil?"

  5. #5
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Hmm, I dont know, see I consider all the theories of ownership and proprietorship from Locke to Marx's criticisms and I pretty much dont see any which fit the sorts of dilemmas which the biotech advances create.

    The it saves lives or for the good of your heart or you wherent doing anything with it anyway will only go so far, the case that heard about on the philosophy bites podcast involved a man who had a spleen removed or something right, the cell strand they created from that was worth millions, now I dont even know if he got his medical bills paid let alone anything else.

    This isnt even a situation where there's a buyers or sellers market, it basically all free to the biotech corporations, especially if they sponsor or own direct health care providers or health insurance sales, as some of them do or are involved in, just insert wavers in contracts and ignorant members of the public could be giving away pieces of themselves which are worth a holy fortune without ever knowing about it or signing off on stuff because they are desperate to receive care in the present, here and now.

    Infact, its strange to me that anyone would suggest someone being ripped off by them would be morally culpable if they didnt want to give them the rights because of the lives which could be saved. That's a bit mad.

    To be honest, I'm a life long organ donor card carrier and I've signed up to the online list too, I was considering leaving my remains to medicine too, the whole idea of winding up in an indignant position being practiced on by first year med or mortician students doesnt bother me. However, the idea that I could be sold off for nothing to a mega corp who would make a fortune and split it across the board room and shareholders who've never done anything for me in life other than threaten the health care I do receive bothers me. I'd rather the lot was interned in the cemetary as worm food if that's the case.

  6. #6
    insert random title here Randomnity's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    The it saves lives or for the good of your heart or you wherent doing anything with it anyway will only go so far, the case that heard about on the philosophy bites podcast involved a man who had a spleen removed or something right, the cell strand they created from that was worth millions, now I dont even know if he got his medical bills paid let alone anything else.
    Think about it this way, it's sorta like giving a pencil (that you were going to throw out anyway) to a random guy who uses it to fill out a lottery ticket and wins. Does he owe you royalties? Your pencil was the source of his fortune, after all.

    Or it's like refusing to compost in city programs, because the people who compost will sell the resulting fertilizing material and you won't get a cut. So you throw it into a landfill instead.

    I think it's disgusting that people can be so greedy about something that is completely worthless to them, less than worthless even since someone has to pay to dispose of it. It's like demanding money from your hairdresser after your discarded hair was used to make wigs for kids with cancer.
    -end of thread-

  7. #7
    Senior Member Beargryllz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Randomnity View Post
    Think about it this way, it's sorta like giving a pencil (that you were going to throw out anyway) to a random guy who uses it to fill out a lottery ticket and wins. Does he owe you royalties? Your pencil was the source of his fortune, after all.

    Or it's like refusing to compost in city programs, because the people who compost will sell the resulting fertilizing material and you won't get a cut. So you throw it into a landfill instead.

    I think it's disgusting that people can be so greedy about something that is completely worthless to them, less than worthless even since someone has to pay to dispose of it. It's like demanding money from your hairdresser after your discarded hair was used to make wigs for kids with cancer.
    I share this sentiment. I don't even like Christmas, but this mindset can only benefit the largest number of people.

  8. #8
    Don't Judge Me! Haphazard's Avatar
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    People who sell their hair in India for weaves get money from it. However, many people here donate hair for wigs for chemo patients.

    I don't see why you can't have a choice as to whether your tissues get donated or not, or if people were even given a little money for it, if just for insurance against such claims. I mean, hey, they're your cancer cells, what are you going to do with them? let us take them off your hands for you, $10 (note, if we make any miraculous scientific discoveries with this, that's all the compensation you get).
    -Carefully taking sips from the Fire Hose of Knowledge

  9. #9
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    I liken it to garbage. Once it's on your curb and ready to get picked up, well, you probably rescind any right you have to your junk, and you have no stake or claim in what gets done with it.

    I've heard of people asking for their skin cells and body parts once they've been removed.. no idea whether those requests get granted. I think it's a safe assumption that, if you don't ask, it gets treated as 'junk'/'not yours'.

    If you toss out something that someone else uses to make a fortune, then you have no ownership of that fortune.. even if you're partly responsible for that fortune. Those are the breaks! Maybe you should have seen the value in your crap, then used that opportunity to cash in.

    People tend to want to claim part ownership after the fact, once the fortune has been made

  10. #10
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Randomnity View Post
    Think about it this way, it's sorta like giving a pencil (that you were going to throw out anyway) to a random guy who uses it to fill out a lottery ticket and wins. Does he owe you royalties? Your pencil was the source of his fortune, after all.

    Or it's like refusing to compost in city programs, because the people who compost will sell the resulting fertilizing material and you won't get a cut. So you throw it into a landfill instead.

    I think it's disgusting that people can be so greedy about something that is completely worthless to them, less than worthless even since someone has to pay to dispose of it. It's like demanding money from your hairdresser after your discarded hair was used to make wigs for kids with cancer.
    Yeah, I'm sure the millionaires are glad you got their back buddy.

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