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Selling and Buying Organs, Research Paper Example

Pages: 3

Words: 738

Research Paper

According to the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) (2012), the current candidate waiting list for organ transplantation stands at 113,052 with an active waiting list of 72,513 candidates, and a total of 26,247 transplants between January-November, 2011, but only 12,960 donors within the same timeframe. The National Organ Transplant Act (NOTA) of 1984 instigated the creation of the OPTN, which is a private, non-profit organization under federal contract and it is the purpose of this organization to increase and ensure the effectiveness, efficiency, and equity of organ sharing in the national system of organ allocation United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), 2012).  OPTN is also supposed to increase the supply of donated organs available for transplantation while adhering to all of the national and international regulations regarding the acquisition and transplantation of human organs, as defined by said regulations (UNOS, 2012).  As of now, organs cannot be bought or sold and the demand for organs far exceeds the supply, as many people are waiting for a transplant.  This brief discussion will answer the question-If we aren’t allowed to buy or sell human organs can the problem be solved?- through examination of relevant literature that discusses the phenomenon of organ trafficking.  As iterated by Budiani-Saberi & Delmonico (2008), organ trafficking:

“…entails the recruitment, transport, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power, of a position of vulnerability, of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation by the removal of organs, tissues or cells for transplantation” (p.925).

The United States currently has the highest rate of kidney transplants than any other country in the world and, for patients trapped in chronic cycles of dialysis, the likelihood of them receiving a donor in a timely manner is slim to none (Friedlaender, 2002).  Desperate situations like this and the shortage of donors has driven those that can afford it to seek donors for hire in countries like Baghdad and Iraq where donors for hire is a plausible option (Friedlaender, 2002).  For those with failing organs or facing the loss of a loved one due to organ failure, a donor for hire may seem like a blessing, but this is not always the case.  Since donors for hire are illegal in most countries, these situations do not undergo the necessary medical scrutiny to ensure that the donor and recipient are compatible, which can lead to donor contaminated infections like tuberculosis and hepatitis, organ rejection due to incompatibility, and even death of the donor or recipient due to inadequate post-operative care (Budiani-Saberi & Delmonico, 2008).

Currently, it is illegal to buy or sell human organs and the demand for donors grossly exceeds the available organs for transplant.  Furthermore, individuals that provide donor for hire services are usually destitute and this is their last resort, which is exploitative in nature and raises concerns regarding the coercive reality of a kidney sale as a desperate alternative available to the poor (Budiani-Saberi & Delmonico, 2008).  Additional concerns are raised in regards to the coercive effects of money and criminal activities in which organs are harvested from unwilling donors and sold on black markets (Delmonico et al., 2002).  However, for patients facing death, a purchased organ means a chance at life, and sufficiently solves the problem, despite the ethical arguments in regards to those facing similar circumstances and cannot afford to purchase an organ or do not have any relatives that are a match and willing to donate, so are left to wait until a suitable donor is found.

References

Budiani-Saberi, D. A. & Delmonico, F. L. (2008). Organ Trafficking and Transplant Tourism: A Commentary on the Global Realities. Blackwell Munksgaard, American Journal of Transplantation, 8, pp.925–929, doi: 10.1111/j.1600-6143.2008.02200.x

Delmonico, F.L. et al. (2002, June 20). Ethical incentives- not payment- for organ donation. The New England Journal of Medicine, 346(25), pp.2002-2005. Retrieved from www.nejm.org

Friedlaender, M.M. (2002, March16). The right to sell or buy a kidney: Are we failing our patients? The Lancet, 359, pp.971-973. Retrieved from www.thelancet.com

Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN). (2012, February 17). Uniting people and information to help save lives. Health Resources and Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Retrieved from http://optn.transplant.hrsa.gov/

United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS).  (2012). Retrieved February 19, 2012.  www.unos.org

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