Ruth Richardson in Mr Gray’s Anatomy writes about a Victorian book on anatomy that was a precursor to Gray called The House I Live In (p.94). The idea of one’s body being as a building is echoed also in spiritual ideas of the body as ‘temple’ and harks back also to Renaissance ideas about classical space and the relationship between the human body as measure of all things and architecture. The relationship between architecture and ideas about the body are also echoed in Christian churches’ the principle design of which is, of course, modelled on the idea of the human form (of Christ) the altar – most central location for the sacrament – being the head.

I am not only speaking here about the deplorable history of anatomical remains – before the Anatomy Act of 1832 – but of how human lives are valued as commodities in the marketplace even today. In the USA, for example, in reproductive medicine, there is a commercial trade in human gametes – cells required for IVF protocols. There is also a commercialisation of the living womb in commercial surrogacy arrangements. In the UK the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) regulates the use of gametes and embryos in reproductive protocols as well as arrangements for surrogacy to ensure that the donation of eggs, sperm, embryos, wombs are voluntary and altruistic processes not motivated by profit.