Should We Be Able to Sell Our Organs?

This is a question that has been posed for years, yet no one seems to take any action in that direction. A mutually beneficial system can be established if this process is legalized. There are hundreds of thousands of people who need a kidney, or a lung, or plasma. We also find that there are millions of people that would be more than willing to sell one of their organs to help out their family. Why is it that the federal government has banned the sale of one’s organs? Is it a way of controlling morality on the side of the right, or is it a method of suppressing the greedy capitalists by the left? There could be thousands of lives saved every year if the sale of organs was legal, yet it is not. Let’s look at some of the positives that could come from its legalization.

According to organdonor.gov, over 120,000 people are in need of an organ transplant, and 18 people will die every day waiting for a transplant. Anything ranging from kidneys to lungs is in high demand these days. Why can’t hospitals seem to have enough organs for these people? The obvious explanation is that there is a shortage, but why is there a shortage? To be honest, not many people are willing to give up something unless they receive something in return. This is a simple part of human nature and economics. Those on the left will accuse people unwilling to donate their organs without compensation as heartless and greedy, but that is simply not the case.human-selling-organ

Keep in mind, donating an organ is a highly noble act, one of the greatest acts a person can do these days. For this post, let’s stick with strictly kidneys. Estimates of up to $50,000 per kidney are not uncommon for the sale of a kidney. The sale of a kidney would not only save a life, but also Medicare money. According to a 2012 report on Bloomberg.com, almost $100,000 can be saved through an unrelated donor over dialysis.

Offering payment incentivizes donation. People desire compensation for their time and for their commitment. And what is so bad about this? There is nothing wrong for desiring compensation for one’s services, especially when it comes to something as delicate and vital as an organ. If compensation was able to be legally offered, I beg to say that donations would drastically increase, and that the current shortage of organs would greatly diminish. If $50,000 was offered for a kidney, one would sure take it into serious consideration. But if no compensation is offered for the procedure to remove one’s kidney, they are more than likely not going to be as inclined to do so.

An example where organ donation has done well is in the plasma business. While it is illegal for one to sell their plasma, pharmaceutical companies have found a little loophole that has both helped them, and millions of Americans. One cannot sell their organs, therefore only a donation is legal. However, there is no law prohibiting the company from compensating people for their time. This is a loophole that I have taken advantage of as a college student. Plasma is a renewable resource, and pharmaceutical companies pay well for plasma. Why not just legalize the sale of plasma as a start? If millions of college students knew about selling plasma, they would be able to have at least a bit of spending money while hard pressed for cash.

So, why not legalize the sale of organs? The process of harvesting the organ would be exactly the same, and this process is done often, and safely. The only difference is that the donor would be compensated. The law of supply and demand is at the center of this. Organs are in high demand and short supply. The price of organs is through the roof, yet harvesting these organs is so rare that no relief seems to be in sight. The simple solution is to legalize the sale of organs. More people would be inclined to donate, and more people would be able to receive the organs they so desperately need.

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