'I donated placenta to help work of search and rescue dogs'
Irish mothers are beginning to donate their placentas to the Civil Defence's Human Remains Detection (HRD) dogs, to aid in recovery searches.
While air-scenting dogs are used to find living missing people, HRD dogs are crucial in searches for the deceased. To train them, handlers need small amounts of blood and tissue - which is where the placentas come in.
Katriona Woods, from Kildare, is one mother who decided to donate her placenta.
"My midwife asked me what I wanted to do with my placenta. I didn't want to just dump it, so I brought it home where it stayed in our freezer for ages," she said.
"Eventually I got a number for a guy at the Civil Defence and he was delighted to get it. It's great to know I might have played some small part in a search and rescue operation."
Last year, the Civil Defence assisted in 80 searches with their dog teams often a crucial part of those operations.
Just one or two placentas are donated a year.
For the full story, see Health & Living in today's Irish Independent