The staggering cost of treating a patient waiting on the transplant list is astounding. Most Americans do not realize the extreme cost involved in care of these patients. Legalizing the sale of human organs is a more effective practice in comparison to recent alternatives presented to increase the amount of organs donated. Since 1984, the buying and selling of human organs has been illegal in the United States. This prohibition on organ markets is very controversial. Deciding whether or not to legalize the sale of organs has been a huge topic plaguing the medical world for a very long time. Determining if the legalization would be ethical or effective are the major parts involved in making this decision. What are the benefits of organ selling and should it be made legal? Many people are dying each day because of the lack of organs available. While there may seem to be a shortage of kidneys, in reality there is a surplus.
In third world countries, there are people willing to do anything for money. In such extreme poverty these people barely have enough to eat, living in shacks and sleeping on dirt floors. Eager to pay off debts, they line up at hospitals, willing to sell a kidney for about $1000. The money will go towards food and clothing, or perhaps to pay for a family member’s medical operation. Whatever the case, these people need the money. With waiting lists being as long as 106,000 people, an average 17 patients in need of transplants, die each day. About 350,000 Americans suffer from end-stage renal disease, a state of kidney disorder so advanced that the organ stops functioning altogether.
There are no miracle drugs that can revive a failed kidney, leaving dialysis or kidney transplantation as the only possible treatments. By legalizing organ selling lives would be saved. Dialysis is harsh, expensive, and, most importantly it is only temporary. Acting as an artificial kidney, dialysis mechanically filters the blood of a patient. It works, but not very well. Treatment sessions are often lasting three hours, several times a week. Those dependent on dialysis are, stuck to a machine for the rest of their lives. This is adding excessive stress to the body. Dialysis also causes patients to feel increasingly faint and tired, usually keeping them from work and other normal activities.
Statistics show that legalizing the organ trade would be beneficial to the economy and society. People sell organs on the black market every day. There
are simply too few people willing to donate their organs. People donating would be more motivated to donate organs if there was an incentive of making money. On the other hand some people fear that the lawful sale of organs would possibly lead to human sacrifice. Although this might be true in reality successful transplants depended on knowledge of characteristics of the donor. The origin of the organ to be sold must be known for it to be used. This would limit the amount of sacrifice seen. Another problem is legalizing organ selling will create an unlevel playing field. Meaning that the rich people that could afford to buy an organ would live and the poor or poverty stricken people would die more often. This could possibly result in the wealthy buying their way to the top of the list and leaving the poor at the bottom, which is obviously not solution to the problem.
The only country in the world that does not have an organ shortage is Iran; ironically they do not have a ban on the sale of organs. If the appropriate steps were taken, a system could be regulated to ensure proper payment and medical care given to those who sell or buy an organ. If something is not done about the long waiting list for organ donations, the black market will continue to thrive on the illegal transplants that are happening every day. However if the organ trade was legalized it could cause major health problems for many of the donors, and even some for the recipients since most of the transplants occur in poverty stricken countries with poor medical facilities. Data collected from India’s kidney market showed that 86% of all donors had health issues after they donated an organ.
Another study shows that most donors and recipients only survive a few years after the surgery. The economical and ethical problem of legalization is one in which government would definitely benefit as well as everyone involved. If people truly own one thing, it is our own bodies, and we should be able to do with them as we please. The government says it is legal to sell your hair or reproductive materials, but somehow legislators have come to the decision that the sale of a kidney is different than a woman selling a bunch of her eggs, or a man selling his sperm. It is legal to sell your blood plasma which is also a part of your body. Medical research companies make huge profits off of products that come from DNA or cell without consent. Despite the many ethical concerns that some people may have, we live in a free country, therefore we should have the right to profit in any way we can so long as it doesn’t hurt another.