Yesterday I received an interesting response from someone on my “How much is a Human Life Really Worth” post. In it he stated that he agreed that you can’t place a value on a human life however you can place a value on a dead human body. Like I said, interesting.
It seem the human body is worth a lot more than I ever imagined. I’d heard somewhere that the human body was worth about $1.50 or so, but according to the email when you total up the value of the different elements in our bodies we’re worth about $1.00 but when you add in the value of our skin, our net worth jumps up to $4.50!
Well this prompted me to do a little research on the subject and I soon discovered that the elements that make up the human body are indeed worth about $4.50. I also learned that in certain circles a dead human body can be much more valuable. Sounds a little gruesome doesn’t it? And conjures up images of grave robbers and mad scientists, but dead bodies have long been used in legitimate medical research. Currently the demand for human body parts outweighs supply, making dead bodies far more valuable to medical research facilities. I was surprised to learn that many of these facilities are willing to pay top dollar for specific body parts. I also learned that there are brokers out there who deal in body parts and the industry is booming.
These body brokers are allowed to charge for their work and make quite a living supplying bodies and body parts for medical research. They act as a middle man between hospitals and medical centers who have bodies and those who need them. I always thought that the sale of human bodies or body parts was against the law but I was wrong. Federal law prohibits selling human organs and tissue for use in transplants but doesn’t ban the sale of parts for medical education and research.
The fact is medicine relies heavily on dead bodies. Harvested organs and tissue have saved countless lives. Without bodies to use for research we wouldn’t be making the vast medical advancements or producing the skilled surgeons who honed those skills on cadavers. Dead bodies are a vital part of medical research and development.
So how much is a dead human body worth on the open market? Some brokers can make upward of $50 to $ 100 thousand per body or more! Includes in this price tag is their personal fee, storage, processing of each body part, transportation and delivery. Many times they get the body as a research donation, but even when they have to pay for a body, somewhere in the neighborhood of $5000, they still make a very substantial profit. You’d be amazed at what these brokers get for body parts. Need a spine? The spine is usually used by surgeons for testing orthopedic implants and goes for $900. the following parts are used for research and development. Hand and Forearm – $385, Shoulder – $500, Heart – $500, Head – $6000, Brain – $600, Knees – $650, Tendons – $1000, Corneas – $6000 a pair, kidney – $300 – $500.
Pretty incredible huh? Who would have believed there’d be such a market for used dead body parts and body brokers to sell them! Hell, if we add in the amount of our life insurance policy, I guess we really are worth more dead than alive…