LAS VEGAS – A woman has won a court fight to keep the placenta after her daughter's birth. She had planned to grind it up and ingest it as a way to fight postpartum depression, but now plans to bury it.
Clark County District Court Judge Susan Johnson granted a preliminary injunction Tuesday, ordering Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center in southern Nevada to return the placenta to Anne Swanson.
Hospital officials said they will comply.
The hospital had refused to give the uterine lining to Swanson following the April 12 Caesarean birth of her daughter, with officials calling it contaminated biohazardous waste.
The judge ordered the hospital not to destroy the placenta, which was frozen, and ordered that it be turned over to Swanson within two weeks.
Swanson, who was 30 when she gave birth, originally wanted to give her placenta to a friend to be dried, ground into a powder and packed into capsules. She said she now plans to dry, store and eventually bury the organ instead of eating it.
"I hope this brings about a better awareness about the benefits of placenta," she said, citing a theory that placental hormones can help control postpartum blues.
Amy Stevens, system vice president for Sunrise Health, which operates Sunrise Hospital, described the ruling as specific to Swanson. She said the hospital must comply with strict regulations in handling human biohazardous waste.
There is no Nevada law prohibiting hospitals from returning placentas to mothers. But several Las Vegas area hospitals told the Las Vegas Review-Journal the organ is usually destroyed unless a physician designates it for medical tests or a patient seeks it for specific religious or cultural reasons.