“An international market in human organs is not only inevitable but also desirable.” Discuss.

Topics: Organ transplant, Organ donation, Human anatomy Pages: 6 (2472 words) Published: April 17, 2014
 “An international market in human organs is not only inevitable but also desirable.” Discuss. Over the last few decades the advances made in the fields of surgical technology have led to an increase in the number of people comfortable with having an organ transplant. Every year, thousands of people, from around the world, are being added to the waiting list to receive organs. Even though the number of people willingly to donate their organs has increased due to the constant campaigns made by government and NGO’s but it is not enough to meet the rising demand for human organs. This has created an urge to find an alternative that would make up for this downfall. John Harris and Charles proposed a “strictly regulated and highly ethical market in live donor organs and tissue.”[1] No doubt offering donors compensation in exchange for their organs is such an option but it is heavily fraught with strong moral sentiments. But the question of debate that arises here is; can we afford to reject an approach that would increase the supply of organs or the efficiency in which organs are allocated and transplant without thoughtful consideration? In USA, according to the National Organ Transplant Act (1984), a person convicted of buying or selling human organs can be fined for as much as $50,000 and five years in prison. [2] Whereas in United Kingdom, according to the Human Tissues Act 2004, it is an offence to offer or buy human organs [3]. In fact, in every country in the world it is illegal to be involved in the organ market except for Iran. In one argument highlighted by Kishore D Phadke, it was said that although the Donor does not gain as much as Recipient or the doctors but at least they have made an “informed decision that would increase their self-esteem, with the clear understanding of the risks and benefits.”[8] It is true that when money comes in this equation, there are going to be many regretful people who would donate their kidney due to lack of education or intellect or because the circumstances made them temporarily desperate. This issue was highlighted in Iran where the sale of Human organs is legal. After a survey, it was concluded that 76 out of a 100 donors in Iran agreed that kidney sale should be banned and if there was another chance they would prefer to beg (39%) or obtain a loan from usurers (60%) instead of vending a kidney. [12] Government prohibition of the unregulated sale of kidneys to protect the poor from exploitation is appropriate and certainly justified. However, it can be debated that is it really better not to save lives so a small fraction of people do not make regretful decisions? Nonetheless, the shortage of organs hasn’t decreased which has led to a worldwide black market for organs from living donors. A surprisingly positive endorsement for legalizing human organ sales was provided by Robert Berman ‘the choice before us in not between buying or not buying organs. This is happening regardless of the law. The choice is whether transplant operations and the sale of organs will be regulated or not.”[20] It cannot be argued that as long as there are some people determined to obtain kidneys and others are desperate enough to sell them, the trade is impossible to stop. World Health Organisation estimated that 10,000 black market transplants operations take place every year. [5] “It makes better sense to regulate the business than drive it underground.”[4] In these circumstances, India is given as a reference where the black market for organs was only established after paid organ donation became illegal in India. A professor from university of Toronto Says, “so much harm occurs in the black market.” [4] What he is saying is credible as Donors, especially from less developed countries, face poor medical care [7] or sometimes, are not paid at all. [5] Whereas in Some cases, the recipients undergoing surgery even up with infections, STDS or damaged organs. [2]. Leonardo De Castro expands somewhat...

Bibliography: 14. “An ethically defensible market in organs - A single buyer like the NHS is an answer.” –Written by Charles A Erin and John Harris ; BMJ. 2002 July 20; 325(7356): 114–115.
18. “Ethical Incentives- Not Payment- For Organ Donation” From the New England Journal of medicine; June 20, 2002
19. Pope John Paul II Evangelium Vitae. Encyclical Letter on the value and
inviolability of human life, March 25, 1995.
20. “Selling organs should be legal.” – written by Berman R. (From the Orthodox Jewish Halachic Organ Donor Society); Jerusalem Post; August 9, 2005.
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