Selling Kidneys: Right or Wrong?

Topics: Ethics, Kidney, Organ transplant Pages: 13 (4565 words) Published: September 16, 2013
Table of Contents

I.

Introduction……………………………………………….. 3

II. Theories of Ethics…………………………………………. 4 1. Kantian View……………………………………... 4 2. Utilitarianism……………………………….……. 6 III. Objections…………………………………………………. 6 1. Altruism…………………………………………... 6 2. Exploitation and Coercion……………………….. 7 3. Slippery Slopes…………………………………… 8 IV. Solution……………………………………………………. 9 V. Kidney Market in Pakistan………………………………… 9 VI. Conclusion………………………………………………… 13

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Selling Kidneys: Right or Wrong?
I. Introduction

Living, despite having a failed essential organ was a dream till 1954. Joseph Murray successfully performed a kidney transplant in 1954 and made the dream of many come true. Since then, organ transplantation emerged as one of the strongest branch in medical history evolving with itself a number of ethical issues. One of the highlighting ethical issues is whether a donor should be allowed to sell his organ to the recipient for money or not? I will limit my discussion on the sale of kidneys. Firstly, it is one of the major areas where transplants are taking place successfully. Secondly, the process of removing one’s kidney is not life threatening. Thirdly, everyone is born with a spare kidney; hence removal of one kidney will not affect his or her daily routine at all, as mentioned by Gill and Sade (2002, p.4). I also want to limit my discussion to living donors because obtaining kidneys from cadavers involves the issue of correct criteria of death which is another long debate. The current situation is that there is a huge shortage of kidneys. In 2001, 14,000 kidneys were transplanted, which constitutes 60% of all transplants. At the same time, 50,000 persons were in waiting list for kidneys (Munson, 2007, p.214). The kidneys obtained from cadaver are so limited in amount that we need an alternative for them. This is due to the fact that most of them are not in a transplant condition due to old age or any other disease like HIV etc. “Between 15,000 and 20,000 decedents annually meet the physical criteria for cadaveric donation, but only about 35% of the time do their families give permission for organs to be removed” (Jacoby, 2003). Now the fact is that we need living donors. Munson (2007, p.214) mentions, “The importance of living donors can be appreciated by the fact that if only one of every 3,000 people became a kidney donor, the kidney shortage would be solved”.

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The main focus of all the countries is that kidney donation should be based on altruism. In most of the countries, the statute makes it illegal to pay any compensation to organ donors or their families. The scope of this essay is to find out whether selling a kidney is morally wrong or not. The first section of essay is devoted to this purpose. The second section discusses what are the main objections raised by various experts and justifications made against them. The third section suggests a solution for the problem that whether persons should be allowed to sell their kidneys or not. Finally, the fourth section will evaluate what will happen if we allow sale of kidneys in a developing society like Pakistan. II. 1. Kantian view: Theories of Ethics

Kantian theories are one of the major sources to find out basis for morality. According to Kant, the foundation for morality is reason and not the moral sentiments or desires for moral commitment and motivation. As Benn (1998, p.92) mentioned, “Kant argued that morality and rationality coincide. To be moral is to be rational, to be immoral is to be irrational”. Kantian principles are known as categorical imperative which can be formulated in several ways. The first formulation of Kant’s Categorical Imperative is ‘Formula of Universal Law’ which says that my act is morally wrong if its consequences are unacceptable to me in case others follow the same act (Benn, 1998, p.93). If I sell my kidney and others also sell theirs, I do not think that it will create any trouble for me. Hence, it is not immoral according to...

References: Benn, P. (1998). ETHICS. EU: UCL Press. Buttle, N. (1991). Prostitutes, workers and kidneys: Brecher on the kidney trade [online]. Journal of Medical Ethics 17: 97-98. Downloaded 9 November 2010, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1376006/?page=1. Erin, C. A., and Harris, J. (2003). An ethical market in human organs [online]. Journal of Medical Ethics 29: 137-138. Downloaded 10 November 2010, from http://jme.bmj.com/content/29/3/137.full. Gill, M., and Sade, R. (2002). Payment for Kidneys: The Case for repealing Prohibition [online]. Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 12(1): 17-46. Downloaded 8 November 2010, from http://academicdepartments.musc.edu/humanvalues/pdf/PaymentforKidneys.pdf. Goyal, M., Mehta, R.L., Schneiderman, L.J., and sehgal A.R. (2002). Economic and health consequences of selling a kidney in India [online]. The Journal of the American Medical Association 288 (13): 1589-93. Downloaded 10 November 2010, from http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/abstract/288/13/1589?ijkey =8e7178a6b6b6bd2da401592edd279b90eea280a3&keytype2=tf_ipsecsha. Jacoby, J. (2003, 10 December). Paying for organs would save lives [online]. The Boston Globe. Downloaded 12 November 2010, from http://www.boston.com/news/globe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2003/10/12/paying_fo r_organs_would_save_lives/. Karuthammer, C. (1999, 17 May). Yes, Let’s pay for Organs [online]. Time Magazine. Downloaded 10 November 2010, from http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,990984,00.html. Moazam, F. (2006). Bioethics and Organ Transplantation in a Muslim Society : A study in culture, Ethnography, and religion. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
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Munson, R. (2007). ‘Organ Transplantation’. In B. Steinbock, The oxford Handbook of BIOETHICS. New York: Oxford University Press. Richards, J.R. (2003). Commentary. An ethical market in human organs [online]. Journal of Medical Ethics 94: 139-140. Downloaded 10 November 2010, from http://jme.bmj.com/content/29/3/139.full.pdf. Rid, A., Bachmann, L.M., Wettstein,V.,and Biller-Adorno,N. (2009). Would you sell a kidney in a regulated kidney market? Results of an exploratory study [online]. Journal of Medical Ethics 35 (9): 558-64. Downloaded 10 November 2010, from http://jme.bmj.com/content/35/9/558?related-urls=yes&legid=medethics;35/9/558. Wade, M. (2010, 13 March). Kidney stolen at gunpoint: Indian labourer’s ordeal [online]. Sydney Morning Herald. Downloaded 15 November 2010, from http://www.organtransplant.com.au/organ-transplant-articles/2010/3/13/kidney-stolen-atgunpoint-indian-labourers-ordeal/. Wilkinson, S. (2003). Bodies for Sale: ethics and exploitation in the human body trade. London: Routledge.
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