Selling Human Organs Essay

10010 Words Mar 26th, 2013 41 Pages
RESEARCH : Selling Human Organs
Should people be allowed to sell their organs? Currently, exchanging organs for money or other "valuable considerations" is illegal, but some members of the medical and business communities would like to change that. One of those is the American Medical Association's influential Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs. Convinced that the balance of moral and ethical concerns favors the ability to sell organs, they would like the laws to change, and the AMA's governing house of delegates is scheduled to vote in June on whether to support a pilot program. The American Society of Transplant Surgeons has already endorsed giving money for cadaveric organs to the families of the
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Paying people for the organs of deceased relatives may make more organs available, but it would also increase the cost of the process - shutting out more poor people and increasing the cost for those who do have enough insurance to pay. Neither of those results is desirable, but the former one undermines the point of selling organs, which is to save more lives by making more organs available.
Another issue involves the pressures placed upon people before the donor dies. There are already serious ethical concerns when it comes to doctors recommending that a person on life support be taken off the machines and their organs donated. These questions will increase if money changes hands. Will families be tempted to have their relatives denied medical care in order to sell the organs? Will hospitals be tempted to withhold treatments for the sake of money?
However, a general policy against selling organs does not necessarily mean that such sales should not be allowed in very narrow circumstances or in the context of special exceptions. For example, it might be legitimate for two families to "trade," perhaps a kidney for a bone marrow transplant. This sort of trade is also prohibited as a type of sale, but it is not an unreasonable exception.
Narrow allowances for selling would have to ensure that the poor have other, genuine options in order to prevent exploitation. There would have to be safeguards to prevent things like bidding wars and "organ markets" which would

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