The Danger of Organ Market Essay Example

  • Category: Health, Health Care,
  • Words: 1251 Pages: 5
  • Published: 25 May 2021
  • Copied: 114

Competitive markets, human trafficking, exploitation of the poor-this is what many people think of when the idea of a legal organ market is proposed- but these misconceptions are far from reality. A legal kidney and liver market could incentivize organ exchange and regulate already present illegal activity. If made and regulated efficiently, the market could be life-changing for many people. “The immortal life of Henrietta Lacks” by Rebecca Skloot shows the benefit of selling body parts, as millions of Henrietta’s cells are sold and are used to immensely advance research and scientific technology. The US should implement a legal kidney/liver selling system.

Our current system isn’t working. Each day 20 people die waiting for a transplant, due to the size of the waiting list and the lack of organs willing to be donated. Even though 95% of people support organ donation only 58% actually donate, and if everyone did only 3 in 1000 people die in a way that allows for donation( Organ Donation Statistics, HRSA ). These dwindling numbers are only reduced by the “opt-in” donation program implemented. Under this program, participants must choose to ‘opt-in’ to donation after death. Countries that have changed this policy to an “opt-out” one, where people are automatically donors, have at least an 18% increase in donors( Organ Donation Statistics, HRSA)(Journal of clinical case reports, Usai). Though it may seem morally-dubious incentivizing works, economics are built on encouragement and people are more likely to do something if their being paid for it(“Human organ debate”, Tipple). In a country where the waiting list is getting longer and donors are getting fewer, we need to encourage organ exchange in all ways possible.

In addition to an increase in the number of donors, legalizing the kidney market would also lead to an increase in safety. The illegal organ market is thriving, with over 10000 markets active annually(“Illegal Kidney Trade Booms as New Organ is sold every hour”, Denis, Davidson). This common activity is needlessly dangerous due to lack of regulation in the markets. Participants are often ill-educated and are performed on in unsafe conditions, leading to a risk of contracting preventable diseases like HIV (“The human organ debate”, Tipple). A broker will typically approach the potential donor and use tactics of coercion or force to ‘encourage’ participation. This is particularly prominent in areas like warzones, such as Syria where over 15000 organs have been exchanged in terrorist areas and refugee camps(15000 Syrians sold in six years, Fars news). Other activity can be under larger operations, such as human-trafficking organizations. A notable example is claims that the Chinese government has harvested organs from nonconsenting prisoners of religious and ethnic minority(“Report: China Is still harvesting Organs from Prisoners”, James). These behaviors could be easily diminished by providing a legal alternative to the participants and ensure restricted and safe operations.

The legal sale of kidneys could also positively impact the colloquial view of stigma and safety. Donating your kidney is viewed as an act of self-sacrifice, and many donors say they have been treated as “a saint”( “Why Selling Kidneys Should be Legal”, Berger). This viewpoint, though gratifying, is very harmful and instill fear in a very safe and painless procedure. Even with older donors, the risk of death in a nephrectomy is about 1 in 3000. Slightly normalizing the process would likely lead to a huge increase in donors. About 6000 living kidney donations occur a year, though the procedure is safe and relatively harmless( Facts and myths, the American transplant association). In that same year, about 1.5 million Americans decided to get botox, the most powerful viral nerve paralyzer in existence(Botox, Gander)(For Botox Users, a Few Words of Caution, Brody).

The first is one that could save a life while the latter is purely cosmetic, the difference in numbers is marketing. Normalization of kidney donation could lead to a huge impact on the waiting list. If .06% of Americans sell 1 kidney, the waiting list would be satiated ( The Human organ debate, Tipple). Legalizing the organ market lowers trafficking activity and risks and stops the waiting list. It boils down to one question, what matter more morality or human lives?

Many claim that legalizing the organ market has too many negative attributes to justify its effectiveness. It creates a stark class division that could lead to a corrupt exchange system, flow of organs to the rich, and excessive normalization of organ sell. The fear of class division is one of importance. The poor could easily be coerced into selling their organs, something the rich wouldn't have to do, creating a society in which the rich get organs at whim and the poor fall further into debt( The market for Human organs is destroying lives, Scheper-Hughes). This problem may even be worse than predicted, as the problem is currently present in our society. Steve jobs, a multi-billionaire, flew to an area with a shorter waiting list instead of waiting for his liver transplant( Did Steve Jobs Money buy him a faster liver transplant, Hainer).

If corruption occurs in a stringent system then it could run rampant in as the market is legalized. This corruption could also occur in the exchange itself. People are always willing to sell something for a lower price, and with that organs could start being devalued. 3rd party buyers could make organs something completely trivial, and the system would collapse(Kidney for sale: Iran has a legal market for the organs, but the system doesn't always work, Bengali). Extreme normalization could also contribute, people selling their kidney to get the newest IPhone or pay back a friend. Legalizing kidney sale could be detrimental to everything from social structure to behavior.

Although the organ market could be detrimental if implemented incorrectly, it compensates in potential effect. Yes- the organ market could exploit the poor, but the poor are already being exploited. People living in poverty have higher job risk, higher crime rates, and already make money illegally through things like prostitution( when poverty is profitable, White). This ‘exploitation’ of letting them sell their organs is something that involves compensation and has the ability to help someone out of poverty(“the human organ debate”, tipple). A corrupt exchange system could be solved with simple regulation, or just not making it a free market. Instead, the government could act as an intermediary.

This system is already active in Iran- a country that has allowed the legal selling of organs since 1988- the sellers and recipients register with the government and the sellers sell the organs to the government, who sell them at a fixed price of 4600 to the recipients(Kidney for Sale': Iran Has a Legal Market for the Organs, but the System Doesn't Always Work, Bengali). This system makes the waiting list virtually nonexistent. Creative ways of governing and regulation could easily solve the organ crisis. However, no amount of regulation can prevent human nature. 3rd party markets and deals are common to nearly every legal industry. But this activity could be significantly reduced. The legalization of cannabis in California did not completely abolish the black market but it did significantly reduce ( “Black market to grey”, Hutchinson).

There are even other ways available to prevent the popularity of these 3rd party sellers. The government could put a cap on prices, or even establish a grant system where poorer individuals could apply for a free organ. They could implement other benefits, such as free healthcare for a certain time period(“unique system allows payment for kidney donors, Associated Press). Though the organ market could be dangerous, it could be potentially life-changing to many on the waiting list.

The infamous waiting list problem can be eliminated. A legal organ market may be hard to implement and regulate but the benefits outweigh the risks. A legal kidney and liver market incentives organ trade, decreases black market activity, and reduces social stigma. Though many claim this market could exploit the poor and incite illegal activity it could actually prove an useful tool for escaping poverty and would decrease black market activity. The legal kidney and liver market could greatly benefit our society, so it boils down to one question- what's worth more human lives or morality?

 

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