Date
19 October 2017
Government hospitals in Hong Kong want a more clearly defined regime on eating placenta. Photo: Bloomberg
Government hospitals in Hong Kong want a more clearly defined regime on eating placenta. Photo: Bloomberg

Hong Kong hospitals seek rules on eating placenta

Hong Kong public hospitals want the government to clarify whether eating human placenta is legal.

They have been joined by legislator Kwok Ka-ki who said the practice circumvents a Hong Kong law that bans organ trade, Apple Daily reports.

Private hospitals return placentas to post-natal mothers as long they sign an undertaking to treat them as medical waste but government hospitals want a more clearly defined regime.    

Placentophagy, or consumption of placenta, which is common in mammals, has been spurred by western claims that it helps reduce childbirth-related stress, including post-partum depression, induces increased breast milk production and produces a general sense of well-being.

The practice has become popular since celebrities began taking placenta capsules, each of which can cost several thousand Hong Kong dollars, according to the report.

Actress January Jones of Mad Men has had her placenta processed into capsules, The Telegraph reports.

And the Daily Mail says Atomic Kitten star Natasha Hamilton is planning to have afterbirth made into pills to ward off post-natal depression.

The Hong Kong government has yet to clarify whether eating placenta is unlawful but said dealing with it requires the same safety standards as those for blood and body fluids to prevent potential contamination and disease.

Kwok, a surgical urologist, wants the authorities to explain whether placenta fits the definition of organ and if making capsules out of placenta is legal.

Meanwhile, a gynecologist said there is no proof eating placenta is beneficial to health. Placentas are taken out of the vagina and easily get contaminated during the process, he said.

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