Should Henrietta's Family Recieve Compensation

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Danny Hurdubei
Mrs.Morris
English 101 9:30
14 November 2012
Should Henrietta’s Family Receive Compensation
            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). 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...
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