Inside the Completely Legal Business of Selling Body Parts

What happens after you die?
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In America we buy and sell body parts on an open market. It’s an unregulated, complicated trade that is happening everyday, and it has some big problems.

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Johnny Harris is a filmmaker and journalist. He currently is based in Washington, DC, reporting on interesting trends and stories domestically and around the globe. Johnny’s visual style blends motion graphics with cinematic videography to create content that explains complex issues in relatable ways. He holds a BA in international relations from Brigham Young University and an MA in international peace and conflict resolution from American University.

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Comment (41)

  1. What an absolutely incredible video!!!
    Honestly bro your content is next level, This video is INSANE! lol

  2. Great vid! But shame you couldn't get onto how the body brokers are now dealing with authoritarian regimes like the Chinese Communist Party to harvest bodies from prisoners. It was discovered that several of the corpses featured in the renowned Bodyworks exhibitions were Chinese dissidents who never gave consent.

  3. Good vid. Would be interesting to now look at the profit and abuses in regular hospitals. Because supply and demand, because for-profit, because America…

  4. I will never get a spare part. I know how much the donors have suffered while their organs are being harvested. These people are NOT dead. Not really. They are only declared legally dead, but their heart beats and they breathe. In my book, that is being alive. But they have a damaged brain which makes them unable to express themselves. The bad thing is: they DO feel everything. That part of the brain still works. And they don't get any painkillers during the harvesting operation. That us the devilish bit. Just medicin that keeps their muscles limb. Otherwise they fight back. Also tears are streaming down their face. The anaestesiologist sees everything. The surgeons do not see the face.
    But he gets handsomely paid and stays silent.

  5. Very interesting… The US government should be very strict on how bodies are used to prevent unethical uses.

  6. Exactly why I took organ donor off my license. say that I am in a car crash and on life support but there's a 50/50 ill die. think they(insurance/doctors) wanna try and fix me? wheres the incentive? doctors would have to spend a lot of time and insurance spend a bunch of money to MAYBE save me? or the doctors let me die so they can sell all my organs for 100 percent chance at BIG MONEY. like 250 grand just for kidneys, 500 thousand for a heart. think the doctors might get some kickbacks from organ selling companies to claim people are too far gone to be saved to increase organ transfer rate? crazier things have happened.

  7. If someone is going to develop a medical treatment from donated body, at least the patent for that treatment should be limited.

  8. Re: tissue donation…. I was so badly flat-footed that I was basically walking on the insides of my ankles, which knocked my whole lower body out of alignment. I was on a path to need both knees and both hips replaced before I turned 40. Changing the shape of a single bone in each foot fixed the whole mess, but the procedure requires bone grafts, and bc of other health issues, I was a poor candidate for an autograft (aka, being my own donor by having some bone harvested from my pelvis). So yeah, cadaver bone donation saved me from a LOT of misery. I'm still a medical mess in other ways, but holy crap did my foot surgeries change my life. A lot of tissue donation doesn't exactly save people who are dying, like with most organ donation, but jfc it can make a difference.

  9. Why are you worried about other's donated bead body, instead of wasting it let it be useful. Even if that makes another's success, so be it. Nobody is going to love forever.

  10. How are there no laws for this? I'm gutted. I come from Vienna/ Austria you showed. We are so strict with bodies, it's absolutely necessary! On the cemetery you showed there is a memorial with the names of donors that choose to have their name displayed. Your video shocked me. Thanks for shining light on this!

  11. Suggest you look into the Japanese bio military unit 731 based in Manchuria. What have they done on living human body? What happened to the unit after the war? Why those people were not put on trial for the crime they did? Last, how the study they performed advanced US in Germ warfare technologies?

  12. This is crazy. And yea, how is this legal??? I know norms and values are rapidly degenerating this last decade, but come on!

  13. The reason circumcision is so prevalent in the US is because baby foreskins are actually very profitable and they can each be sold for thousands of dollars to be used to grow components used in places like the skincare industry for face creams and whatnot.

    It's crazy that mutilating your kid in the false sake of "hygiene" is totally normal.
    Yet these same people will point to female circumcision in Africa and think "god that's so barbaric and abhorrent, we would never ever stomach doing anything like that!"
    They're both awful.

    I could maybe see a case for selling a bit of your baby's skin for cash you can then use to take care of the kid or put in a fund for them or something like that, but parents don't even see a penny of the $2-10K the foreskin sells for. And that doesn't even get into the consent issue. It's just a barbaric idea marketed to the public and accepted.

  14. I guess it's the privatisation of this industry that made it corrupt (not everyone).
    They put the profit before evething.

  15. My grandpa's body just got donated to science after he passed away, and this video makes me very uncomfortable about that now 😬

  16. Everyone interested in this should go check out the channel Ask A Mortician! She has lots of content about organ donation, body sourcing, and all kinds of post death stuff that can happen to a body.

  17. So! Johnny….. the other countries do the same thing but with a ceremony. The ceremony just made you feel good. Thats all bud.

  18. I don’t think you’re really representing Lifenet in the best life. Lifenet is a major tissue processor providing highly regulated tissue grafts to hospitals. Heart valves, tendons, heck, I’ve got a lot of Lifenet bone in my back after my fusion. I don’t think it’s fair to peg Lifenet as a “body broker”. There are absolutely bad players in the market but Lifenet tissue is heavily heavily regulated.

  19. I’d add that Lifenet is one of the largest tissue banking companies in the country. I worked for an OPO for many years and procured bone for Lifenet and many other processors. Ps, props for using the word “procure” over harvest… huge issue for me.

  20. We won’t even regulate high capacity firearms for the sake of protecting children I don’t think we’re gonna regulate how capitalists use our bodies.

  21. Betterhelp is a scam. I love your content but why you have to chose to promote this when they ruin people's lives😔 I'm sorry but dislike

  22. What happens when the Earth Stands Still because the evolved apes disobey God? I’m also not an organ donor, because Gods and Kings keep their temple, post death.

  23. I really love how American free market swings from legal to illegal, and we call it a successful model.

  24. Technically, corpses aren't people needing protection by government. I believe it's best for society to deal with this mostly through the rituals/mores/customs as shown. Broken contracts though, should not go unpunished.

    The law that I want to see is one that keeps the economic incentive from encouraging the "transition" from a living human to a corpse. Human trafficking is real.

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