Support the news
Americans have a nearly insatiable demand for blood.
Every two seconds, someone in the country requires a blood transfusion. And to get one, they go straight to a blood bank.
But it's a strange idea. A blood bank. Or a sperm bank. Or a breast milk bank. What kind of bank relies on donations? That's the idea that got Kara Swanson interested in the idea, the history and the theory behind banking our precious bodily fluids. She says our current system of banking body parts isn't just counter-intuitive — it's costing lives.
WBUR's Sacha Pfeiffer speaks with Swanson about the thriving market in human body products, and the complicated legal and medical questions surrounding it.
Kara Swanson, author of Banking on the Body: The Market in Blood, Milk, and Sperm in Modern America. She tweets at @KaraWSwanson.
- "The enormous success of volunteer blood banking has shaped the way we now think about body products in general, writes Northeastern University law professor Kara Swanson."
This segment aired on June 3, 2014.