The Ethics of Organ Sales

Topics: Organ donation, Organ transplant, Kidney Pages: 3 (992 words) Published: February 17, 2012
As of Tuesday, October 18, 2011, more than 112,000 Americans are waiting for a transplant donation (US Department of Health and Human Services). Eighteen people die every day waiting for an organ that never materializes. While the number of men, women, and children who are waiting for an organ is growing by leaps and bounds, whether or not donors should being compensated is a topic on which there is little agreement. Would compensation for pain, suffering, and inconvenience encourage those who are hesitant to donate?

The organs that come from cadavers do not come close to meeting the demand for those who wait on the Organ Transplantation list. A live donor is preferred as there is a higher rejection rate with cadaver harvested organs. There are countries that are attempting to regulate compensation for organ donation. Currently, the United States does not compensate individuals but is working on a system that would offer benefits such as medical coverage or life insurance (Guttman). Organs can be purchased in China, Pakistan, Turkey, Egypt, Colombia and the Philippines (The Irish Times 4). Kidneys appear to be the organ in greatest need. Sometimes the organs are brokered, sometimes the organ donors are holding out for the highest bidder. In some countries, such as Pakistan, a woman can be forced to sell her organs as the belief system regards that her father or husband hold domain over her body.

One might argue that the donor receives compensation for his or her organ and that compensation should suffice. However, the money stemming from the donation does not lift the donor out of poverty. Just the opposite happens when the donor’s health fails due to lack of follow up care after the donation. This will leave the person or family worse off than before the donation. The underprivileged of developing nations, uneducated and desperate, are prey to the unscrupulous brokers who supply organs to the world’s wealthy. The health and welfare of these paid donors...
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