Eden Redpath Redpath
The Debate for Paid Organs
Paid organ donation has been a huge debate since long before it was outlawed in the National Organ Transplant Act of 1984 (5). Before it was prohibited, paid organ donation had the possibility to save the countless lives of people who could afford it much like any other medical need in America. Many modern governments resist the allowance of the buying and selling of organs for a variety of reasons dispite the fact that a legalized market has a huge possibility of solving organ shortages, prolonging life, and would make the inevitable buying of organs less dangerous and equal.
Organ donation, a relatively modern medical meracle, has saved countless lives since the first successful kidney transplant was excecuted in 1954 (3). Twenty-nine years later, H. Barry Jacobs, a Virginia physician, announced his plan to create the “National Kidney Exchange”, a company which would buy a kidney for up to 10,000$ from a living donor and sell it for roughly a 2,000$ - 5,000$ markup (12). Anyone from around the world could therefore place their healthy kidney on the market.
This business venture brought along with it huge public debate. David Ogden, the president of the National Kidney Exchange said at the time “It is immoral and unethical to place a living person at risk of surgical complication and even death for a cash payment to that person.”(4) Along with this point, the opposition to paid organ transplants argues that the cash incentive for lifesaving organs has the possibility to allow the rich to “exploit the poor .” (4) Furthermore, the president of the company and other kidney transplant specialists argued that the medical benefits are not large enough to justify the drawbacks. They argued that cadaver transplants, organs from deseased donors, were just as successful as organs donated from living donors (12).
These arguments were some of the main arguments which lead to the passing of the National Organ Transplant Act which made the buying as selling of organs against the law in America. Currently, Iran is the only country where the selling of one’s organs for profit is legal (1). This market has proven successful and benefitial to Iranian citizens who whish to make a profit by undergoing surgery. Those who wish to donate are matched with a recepient by a non-profit organization and are offered 4,500$ USD, free health coverage for a year after the operation and reduced goverment health coverage thereafter (4). Needless to say, there is no organ shortage in Iran.
As a result of organ donation for profit being illegal in America, organ shortages are becoming a growing issue. Currently 150,000 Americans are waiting for a lifesaving organ donation. Twenty of those people will die every day for the lack of (2). Westerners in need of a lifesaving transplant are given only two options. 1) Wait for a person registered as an organ donor with the same bloodtype to...