BN.com Gift Guide

Banking on the Body: The Market in Blood, Milk, and Sperm in Modern America

Overview

Scientific advances and economic forces have converged to create something unthinkable for much of human history: a robust market in human body products. Every year, countless Americans supply blood, sperm, and breast milk to "banks" that store these products for later use by strangers in routine medical procedures. These exchanges entail complicated questions. Which body products are donated and which sold? Who gives and who receives? And, in the end, who profits? In this eye-opening study, Kara Swanson traces ...

See more details below
Hardcover
$27.53
BN.com price
(Save 21%)$35.00 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (17) from $21.18   
  • New (12) from $26.69   
  • Used (5) from $21.18   
Banking on the Body

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$19.49
BN.com price
(Save 44%)$35.00 List Price

Overview

Scientific advances and economic forces have converged to create something unthinkable for much of human history: a robust market in human body products. Every year, countless Americans supply blood, sperm, and breast milk to "banks" that store these products for later use by strangers in routine medical procedures. These exchanges entail complicated questions. Which body products are donated and which sold? Who gives and who receives? And, in the end, who profits? In this eye-opening study, Kara Swanson traces the history of body banks from the nineteenth-century experiments that discovered therapeutic uses for body products to twenty-first-century websites that facilitate a thriving global exchange.

More than a metaphor, the "bank" has shaped ongoing controversies over body products as either marketable commodities or gifts donated to help others. A physician, Dr. Bernard Fantus, proposed a "bank" in 1937 to make blood available to all patients. Yet the bank metaphor labeled blood as something to be commercially bought and sold, not communally shared. As blood banks became a fixture of medicine after World War II, American doctors made them a frontline in their war against socialized medicine. The profit-making connotations of the "bank" reinforced a market-based understanding of supply and distribution, with unexpected consequences for all body products, from human eggs to kidneys.

Ultimately, the bank metaphor straitjacketed legal codes and reinforced inequalities in medical care. By exploring its past, Banking on the Body charts the path to a more efficient and less exploitative distribution of the human body's life-giving potential.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
05/12/2014
Northeastern University associate law professor Swanson explores the history of the collection, storage, and delivery of human body products, finding it stubbornly attached to the financial model of banking—and alarmingly predictive of current American health care indecision. Since the 1940s, Swanson argues, body banks for breast milk and blood have been "omnipresent," while attitudes toward them reflect "a medical profession unable to resolve its own conflicting commitments to health care access and to individual responsibility to pay for medical services." Swanson leads a fascinating journey to the origins of this muddle: from young Bostonian doctor Fritz Talbot's search for a wet nurse to help save one of his fragile newborn patients to Dr. Bernard Fantus's pioneering 1930s blood bank at Cook County Hospital in Chicago to the 1950s use of the blood bank model for the management of sperm that organized a practice extant since the late 1800s. Swanson predicts a complicated future along the frontiers of organ transplants, but her story "points the way for using body products as the private basis for promoting the public good." (May)
Steven Wilf
Blood, milk, and sperm are often seen as embodying the essence of personhood. But in our time they have become the parts of the body most easily stored and exchanged. Banking on the Body uncovers the remarkable story of how body products have been envisioned as civic resources controlled by medical professionals as well as personal property which might be bought and sold by individuals. Original and deeply researched, this book has real significance for how we balance ever-increasing demands for body parts while still preserving our own human values.
Janet Golden
Swanson presents a compelling examination of the process by which sperm, blood, and human milk came to be both ‘gifts’ and commercial products. Deeply researched and clearly argued, this medical history should be read by anyone concerned with the legal and social consequences of body banking.
Charles E. Rosenberg
An important study of the way American society has managed and conceptualized the ‘banking’ and distribution of human body products. Swanson explores the parallel but illuminatingly asymmetrical histories of blood, milk, and reproductive cells to undermine the facile if familiar distinction between gift and commodity that has so polarized policy and ethical discussion in this area. A must read for anyone concerned with the ways in which we make policy and shape practice in contemporary medicine.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674281431
  • Publisher: Harvard
  • Publication date: 5/12/2014
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 529,298
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Kara W. Swanson is Associate Professor of Law at Northeastern University School of Law.
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)