Should Henrietta’s Family Recieve Compensation

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Henrietta Lacks’ cells, known as HeLa cells, have made significant contributions to medical and scientific fields and have created multi-billion dollar companies that sell her cells in large quantities. However, her family has not received recognition or compensation for the use of her cells. Some argue that individuals should not be able to profit from their own cells due to legal and ethical concerns. Others believe that Henrietta’s family should receive compensation for the immense good her cells have done. While the legal and ethical implications of owning one’s cells are complex, the author believes that the Lacks family should receive some type of compensation for their contribution to scientific advancement.

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Henrietta’s cells have contributed many great things to both the medical and science fields. Her cells have also started many multi-billion dollar companies that specialize in selling her cells in vast quantities. Yet the Lacks families have received little recognition and compensation from the cells. Many people have argued that no one should be able to profit off their own cells or other body parts, because of the many legal, research, and ethical problems.

While others argue that since the cells belonged to Henrietta, she should be able to compensate from them. While many experts have agreed that Henrietta’s cells have been greatly helpful in many ways, not all agree that her family should be compensated. The biggest reason is the many legal problems this brings. Loane Skene states, “Consider the possible legal consequences of recognising that people ‘own’ their own body parts and tissue” (austlii. edu).

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Since no one can “own” their cells, Henrietta and her family are not able to profit from her cells. Experts also say that if people were able to profit from their cells there would be many research and ethical problems. If people owned their own cells then they could not be commercialized and this would slow and halt research. According to Loane Skene, “the concern that uncertainty about ownership will fetter research, teaching and the pharmaceutical industry” (austlii. edu).

There are also many ethical problems that come from individuals owing their own cell. Many others argue that since Henrietta’s cells have contributed so much, her family should receive some type of compensation. According to Martyn Drakard, “Henrietta’s cells have done and continue to do immense good”(icgalegroup. com). There are many multi-billion dollar corporations that exist only because of Henrietta and HeLa cells. While the Lacks family cannot even afford health insurance.

While it may be a difficult and strenuous legal process I think the Lacks family should receive some type of compensation. There are many issues around the Lacks family receiving compensation from HeLa cells. Experts say that there are to many legal consequences around owning your own body parts. Also if the Lacks family did own the cells this would slow research and cause ethical problems. While other say that Henrietta’s cells have done so much for the medical and science fields, that the Lacks family should be compensated for it. In my opinion the Lacks family have been through too much to not receive any type of compensation.

Works Cited

Drakard, Martyn. “Henrientta’s Immortal Cells [book Review]. ” Ic. galegroup. com. N. p. , 5 July 2012. Web. 25 Nov. 2012. Skene, Loane. “Macquarie Law Journal. ” Skene, Loane — “Arguments against People Legally ‘Owning’ Their Own Bodies, Body Parts and Tissue” [2002] MqLawJl 7; (2002) 2 Maquarie Law Journal 165. N. p. , n. d. Web. 26 Nov. 2012. <http://www. austlii. edu. au/cgi-bin/sinodisp/au/journals/MqLawJl/2002/7. html? stem=0>.

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Should Henrietta’s Family Recieve Compensation. (2016, Dec 24). Retrieved from

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