Harry Brookes Allen Museum of Anatomy and Pathology Human Placenta Specimen

health, identity

Is the placenta a part of the mother or child?

As the body’s only disposable organ, the placenta is a materno-fetal organ and a crucial blood connection between the mother and developing foetus. It develops upon implantation of the blastocyst – the very early stage embryo – in the uterine wall and provides nutrition, gas exchange, waste removal and hematopoietic stem cells, along with endocrine and immune support for the foetus as it grows.

This placenta is from a pregnancy of twins and has been preserved in a formaldehyde solution. For a majority of monozygotic (identical) twins, a single placenta is shared throughout development. By contrast, fraternal (non-identical) twins always have separate placentas.

Human tissue, Wentworth solution, perspex, c1950
Image: Gavan Mitchell

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The Artist: Harry Brookes Allen Museum of Anatomy and Pathology

Harry Brookes Allen Museum of Anatomy and Pathology at The University of Melbourne, is Australia’s largest teaching collections of real human specimens, including dissected anatomy and pathology specimens, moulages, death masks and historical teaching models. The museum provides valuable educational resources for students studying in the medical and related anatomical disciplines.