Pie in the sky between your thighs

Ladies, there are people who want your menstrual blood. It contains stromal cells, which are a multipotent adult-stem-cell-like population that might be a useful source of fairly plastic, proliferative cells. This distant possibility has prompted one company, C’Elle, to offer to collect, test, purify, and store these cells for you. As they say, these cells “may potentially provide phenomenal life saving treatments and customized therapies in the future“…so you should stash away a supply in cryogenic storage, just in case someone comes up with a use.

There is some serious science here, and Attila Csordas summarizes some of the interesting properties of these cells, but the approach is just weird. This can’t be called fraud — throughout their web site, they plainly admit that there is no practical, applied use for these cells right now, so they aren’t attempting to mislead at all — but they also can’t give a good pragmatic reason why anyone should pay to have their menstrual blood stored away.

That’s right, pay. Fees range from $499 for a single collection, to $1599 for a quarterly collection, with an additional yearly fee of $99-$199 for cryostorage. Yow. And you’ve just been throwing those tampons and pads away, not realizing that that is sludgy red treasure between your legs, and that you ought to be putting it on a high-tech pedestal and preserving it for a lifetime.

We guys are feeling left out, I assure you. I’m hoping we find a multipotent adult stem cell type in mucosal epithelia, so that we too can pay a premium price to honor the potential in our mucky secretions. If there isn’t a company doing this yet, I should start one.

I think I’ll call it “B’ooger™” (pronounced “boo-zhay”, of course).

Later, we may expand to serve a discriminating and exclusively male clientele with “Smeg’ma” (“smay-mwah”). There’s gold in them there slimes!


  1. Scrofulum says

    I think I’ll set up a similar enterprise using this box and a fridge. I’m going to call it the Ejaculatron 3000.

    You never know when a crumpled kleenex will turn out to be useful.

  2. Bride of Shrek says

    25 odd years of menstruating and now I feel positively wasteful. For approximately $165,000 I could have stored it all up.

  3. Great White Wonder says

    I just chuck my used tampons under the bed and let the ants take care of them.

  4. says

    Hmmm. Well, if every sperm is sacred, I guess every stromal cell can be too – but still, eeeeewwww. Who wants to work in the mailroom at this place?!

  5. xenowolp says

    dang too bad, just today a google-add offered me stem cell treatment for my diabetes

    guess it’s the new “in” thing

  6. Meg says

    I paid to store my kid’s cord blood… but I think I’ll pass, so to speak, on this opportunity. And since I’m all knocked up again, I won’t have the chance for several months anyway.

  7. Bride of Shrek says

    Bwaa Haaa, I just read on their website that you can purchase gift certificates for your “family and friends”. Well, there’s the Christmas gift problem taken care of for all the girls.

  8. Elin says

    It would be so cool if the usefulness of menstrual stromal cells turns out to be a real thing. It would give the whole process some kind of purpose, even for those of us who may opt out of (or having to skip) motherhood.
    And for the guys who are feeling “left out”: hey, have you not seen “There’s Something About Mary”?

  9. Xerxes1729 says

    I’ll freeze your urine for you for $10. Sure, it’s a lot less likely to ever be useful, but think of the savings!

  10. Sastra says

    $499? $1599? Oh come on — they’ve got to be able to do this cheaper.

    Change the marketing: call it The Holistic Women’s Natural Energy Spiritual Cosmic Consciousness Wellness and Niceness Centre and throw around a lot of stuff about women’s blood being of the earth, earthy and having special healing powers. Then find a pervert to store it in his freezer for $20 — or whatever EBay will bring in.

  11. Elin says

    What’s the deal with everyone getting grossed out? Aren’t we supposed to be scientific around here? It’s just blood (okay, and an unfertilized egg), y’all.

  12. Bride of Shrek says

    I actually only see two people mentioning being grossed out(and even then in a humourous way). Everone else was being pretty funny about it I think. Great White Wonder should go stand in the naughty corner for her comment. Must be some hellish big ants at her place.

  13. Bride of Shrek says

    …and I’m only presuming Great White Wonder is female. Given your comment, if you’re a male GWW you should be standing in the NAUGHTY NAUGHTY corner!!!

  14. says

    Elin, it’s not the blood; it’s the smegma. Damn, though, and here I was feeling all smug about being postmenopausal. (Excessive smugma? Never mind.)

    I started laughing loudly enough to get Joe in here looking over my shoulder at “boo-zhay.” Speaking of things I wasted all these years. Suddenly those of us with allergies are Living National Treasures, I can just see it. (Hey, no annoying pathogens to filter out.) And to think my dear old Dad used to call me Hosenose.

    That’s Ms Hosenose, if you please.

  15. lysa says

    And to THINK I’ve just been callously discarding the dripping treasure of my femaleness!! When I could have been potentially saving futures lives in some fashion as yet to be determined! What was I thinking???

    However, I’m not about to shell out 500 hard earned dollars to store these precious perhaps lifesaving in the next century fluid. If it becomes that important to me, I’ll just buy a deepfreeze.

  16. Azkyroth says

    Am I the only one who thought this sounded interesting and then just paused, sat, and blinked when PZ made it clear that THEY want YOU to pay THEM for this? O.o

  17. autumn says

    Why the storage? Does this company anticipate that, in the future, menstruation will no longer be happening?

  18. Rjaye says

    Zyan, that site is a “HOO-DOO” page?

    HOO-DOO? It’s a joke, right?

    Especially the love spell where the woman puts her “sludge” in her lover’s coffee to bind him to her?

    This should be called HooHooDoo…doobedoobedoo….

  19. littlebluellama says

    “Smeg’ma” (“smay-mwah”)

    Sorry, I don’t get it. An Americanism?

    Posted by: Neil Schipper | November 6, 2007 10:23 PM

    Pronouncing things the “french” way makes them “fancy.”
    Unless you’re just referring to the word smegma which is:

    smeg·ma /ˈsmɛgmə/ [smeg-muh]
    a thick, cheeselike, sebaceous secretion that collects beneath the foreskin or around the clitoris.
    [Origin: 1810-20; < L < Gk smêgma unguent, soap, cleansing medicine]

  20. Bride of Shrek says

    They were saying Smegma back in 1810? The mind boggles.

    “get over here my wretched and toothless valet” thundered Lord Farqhuar. “I have Smegma that needs attending to or I shall smite you with my glove. It will be duelling pistols at dawn if it is not cleansed to his Lordship’s satisfaction.”

    I never read THAT in any Austen novel.

  21. Graculus says

    I first heard smegma used in Red Dwarf. Lister was fond of the word and used it on numerous occasions.

    Monty Python was responsible for the current in popularity of the term “smegma” (previously popularly refered to as “dick cheese”) in British comedy.

  22. says

    I’m confused. Do they expect people to believe that by the time a use for these cells has been found, the source will have *ahem* dried up?

  23. says

    Re supplies: that was my first thought too — I was thinking, “it’s not like fresh mentsrual blood is hard to come by — they really want you to gamble $500 plus storage fees on the proposition that years down the line, scientists will buy your freezer-burned stem-cells for top dollar when there’s fresh menstruum about?”

    That makes even less sense than the idea of storing menstrual blood in the first place, but I bet here’s the ticket: it’s not so you can sell your stem cells to scientists for their experiments: it’s so that when they have stem-cell-based whatever treatments, they can use those treatments on you, since they’ve got your stem cells.

    I think that’s the logic, anyways. Doesn’t make much sense otherwise. Doesn’t make much sense anyways, but at least this is plausible if unlikely.

  24. bacopa says

    But if menstrual blood is such a good source of stem cells they ought to be paying women to collect it. Stem cells are hard to come by these days.

  25. Julia says

    Azkyroth, I know exactly what you mean. I was hoping I’d stumbled across a way to MAKE money!

  26. Anonymous coward says

    Step 1. Make a hole in a cold box.
    Step 2. Put your junk in a box.
    Step 3. Eraagh-unnk-unnk-ung.
    Step 4. Stem cells!

  27. John C. Randolph says

    This has got to be a hoax. I know that there are people who are crazy enough to fork over thousands of dollars to all kinds of quacks, but who in the world would fall for this?


  28. Graculus says

    but who in the world would fall for this?

    Dear Sir,

    Having consulted with my colleagues and based on the information gathered from the Nigerian Chambers Of Commerce And Industry, I have the privilege to request your assistance to transfer the sum of $47,500,000.00 (forty seven million, five hundred thousand United States dollars) into your accounts….

  29. frog says

    Ryage: Zyan, that site is a “HOO-DOO” page?

    HOO-DOO? It’s a joke, right?

    Didn’t check out the website, but in general hoo-doo ain’t no joke (at least the way you mean it). It’s the American version of voodoo. Same roots from West Africa, brought over by slaves and just pronounced a little differently and with a dash more Protestantism. Santeria, voodoo, hoodoo, and the almost infinite variety of Brazilian sects are variations on the same religion.

    It’s a joke in the same way that Episcopalianism is a joke.