This Philadelphia Woman Will Prepare Your Placenta for $200

It starts with "ceviche," ends with a capsule for easy swallowing.

There’s a fascinating article on Al-Jazeera today about the financial struggles of adjunct professors in Philadelphia and beyond. (In short, non-tenured professors make very little money, can’t pay off their student loans, etc.)

But the thing that really jumped off the screen to us was the story of Melissa Degezelle, a Philadelphia adjunct professor who makes ends meet by taking new moms’ placentae and lemon-curing them into a ceviche-like substance before turning them into capsules for swallowing.

Degezelle, who most recently taught at Temple and Philadelphia University, is also a doula, and one of the services she lists on her website is “placenta preparation.” (She has degrees in creative writing, women’s studies, and English.)

Of course, we’ve heard of placenta-eating before. We just didn’t realize that you could pay someone to make it more easily edible. Makes sense though.

Many women believe that placenta-eating can be an effective treatment for post-partum depression. A local mother chronicled her experience in a 2013 Be Well Philly piece called “Why I Ate My Own Placenta.” The New York Times wrote about the trend in a 2012 in a piece titled “Why I Regret Eating My Placenta.” It’s not for everyone.

Degezelle charges $200 for her service, which includes pickup of the placenta from the hospital and delivery to your home. In the Al-Jazeera story, she transforms one placenta into a “lemon-cured ceviche” for a mom who just delivered a baby at the University of Pennsylvania hospital and then steams and dries it into into “sand-colored capsules.” The end result goes into a Chinese-food takeout container.

Need your placenta prepared? Here’s her website.

And here is Time contributor Joel Stein’s guide to preparing placenta at home.

[Note: The original version of this article indicated that Degezelle can turn a placenta into ceviche for $200, based on the reporting of the Al-Jazeera story. But Degezelle now says that the Al-Jazeera story was misleading and that the ceviche-like preparation is only part of the process.]

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