Should the sale of human organs be legal?
Modern medicine has transplant of human organs a major business in their medical profession. Despite these efforts, it will take extraordinary powers to save the millions of people on the face of the world that which exacerbates suck issues out. Many countries are faced with the issue of whether to legalize the sale of human organs due to the overwhelming number of patients in need of organ transplant. The situation is mostly worse in United State of America where over 75,000 people wait for only transplant. Despite all the efforts, nearly 4,000 people die while on the waiting list of organ transplant due tom limited facilities and organs themselves. It is however observed that, a proportionate number of other patients do not undergo organ transplant after they develop body complications while on the waiting thereby making organ transplant process difficult to be executed (David 2000).
There has a call from the medical fraternity for more donation cards to be produced in America for more families to donate organs for their loved ones especially the supply of cadaveric organs whose supply has been recorded as stagnant if not declining. Coupled with doctor’s regular approach to families of the patients, the situation could be saved and more patients would undergo organ transplant successfully. As a result of difficulties involved in obtaining organs from people on voluntarily basis, a campaign has been launched. Its strategy is to persuade family members of patients, strangers, friend, relatives and even good Samaritans join in the campaign and provide one of their organs especially kidney (Mark 2005).
Though if this process succeeds will go a long way to solve the situation, it would not be enough to cater and satisfy the growing and enormous need for American patients alone. However the issue has attracted a sharp debate concerning people being paid tom donate an organ. Medical practioners, human rights organizations and other stakeholders have been involved in heated debate concerning the issue. A stastatistic demonstrated an overwhelming numbers of many American’s were not decided on whether they can donate their organs for transplantation (Oscar and Christopher 1995).
As debates to the issue intensified, the percentage of ‘undecided’ had declined from 29 to 9 percent. However, the debate increased those in favor of buying and selling human organs from 44 to 60 per cent after the debate while those who opposed the debate increased by only 4 points from 27 to 31 per cent. As Sally Satel a psychiatrist noted that despite decades and decades of public awareness of concerning organ donation, the patients’ waiting list continues to be long every day (Rainer and Gruessner 2008).
This therefore translates to longer periods of organ transplant when time comes, however due to time lapse and mostly expiry of duration set, transplant becomes complex due to complications associated with the operation process due to delay. She therefore notes that altruism has not done enough to save and rescue the worrying trends and situation in patients waiting for organ transplant. Therefore she recommends that many people needs an incentive for them to give their organs for transplant purposes. Sally who received and underwent a kidney transplant in 2006, suggests that, people needs to be compensated when they willingly donate their kidneys to relatives or even strangers to save a life. Her model does not purely commercialize the sale of human organs per se, but as a form of compensation from their kinds of actions towards saving lives. The failure to legalize sale for human organs have resulted to increased activity of the same in the black market which sometimes is done in an unprofessional way and causes more harm than good (Ruth and Doris 2002).
Therefore, the proponents of this argument states that, there should be a legal and regulated framework under which donors would be compensated to successfully eliminate the practices and demand for this covert activity. This would consequently reduce to a greater extent the practices of the black market guaranteeing the medical safety of both the donor and the recipient. The compensation plan proposed in this scheme though involves direct monetary transactions, mostly it emphasis of service benefits to the donor for his boldness to take health risk. Therefore, health insurances, life insurance besides direct monetary compensations are means to be explored. Another model of human organ sale proposed by Lloyd Cohen involves healthy individuals contracting the sale of their organs and tissue immediately after their death (David 2000).
In this model, organs for transplant would be obtained from the dead relieving anyone the risks of death and their heath and especially their body integrity for money. This model is highly encouraged since it does not involve any form of sacrifice to the donor since he is already dead and otherwise the organ would be of no help is not removed and transplanted to save a life. However from the moral perspectives, activists have forwarded debates that, even if compensation for human organs especially cadaveric organs would not increase their supply. The model of a contract to obtain the organ after death has many skeptical; since in the US many people do not sign for donations card due to mistrust and distrust, many do fear that such a contract may lead to declaration of their deaths prematurely (Oscar and Christopher 1995).
Therefore this fact may prevent many people to enter into such contracts which their only limitation of contract execution is death. Opponents to these models of organ sale legalization have argued that, legalizing human organ sale would indeed decrease supply as opposed to increase and safe the situation. This is so since people will be involved with the argument of why they should give if they can sell. Therefore the argument is advanced that transplantation should be done for organs from live donors as opposed to dead ones. The process of obtaining an organ from a live donor always involve risks and sacrifices which proponents of sale of human organs argue that the sacrifice then should be compensated, recognized and regulated in a protected framework within the society (Mark 2005).
Through consistent refusal to legalize the human organ sale market, many homeless and poor people from developing countries are falling prey to merchants of human organs to satisfy increasing demand in the black market. The moral and ethical considerations have complicated the debate surrounding sale of human organs. These considerations have elicited sharp divisions and heated debates concerning whether to legalize or not the sale of human organs. Some patients capable of prolonging their life through buying organs in the black market prefer to go ahead rather than die waiting for a transplant in hospitals. Black market has been considered as a savior to people who would otherwise had died on the waiting list. However only the rich people have been considered to be only one with access to these organs neglecting the poor in the society and their life is kept at stake and risky conditions (Oscar and Christopher 1995).
In fact it is observed that it is the poor who wait the longest in the transplant list since they could not access the dialysis services easily compared to the rich. Opponents of this debate therefore argue that is the ideas is pursued, the poor would be detrimentally affected more than the rest of societal members. Access to hygienic and tested organs would also be a challenge to them due to limited resources. Legalizing the sale of these proposed models would therefore leave the market for the organs prone to manipulation by the rich and at their discretion which is not beneficial to the target group in the society (Mark 2005).
However those for the legalization of human organ sale argue that medical industry in United States and other countries is grounded on profit seeking motives, therefore legalizing human organ sale in medical fraternity would only be in conformity to this motive of profit maximization. The debate has gone for a long time with each side proposing several ways in support and against having numerous perspectives and arguments to support their ideas. However legalization according to proponents should be legal when the donor or the close relatives and family members of the deceased donor are in consensus for the idea and the procedures. In support of this model, some countries have proposed several incentives to encourage donations of human organs instead of sale.
One such country is the United States of America has proposed that the law governing sale of human organs should consider exemptions when a prisoner donates an organ, his or her jail term should be revised for reduction due to his or her kind action. Other organizations have also been used like donations to charitable third party and the paired exchange organ have worked closely with each other to promote awareness of how and why organ donations are important in the medical field. Through implementation of these programs, those lives of people who wait for long before they can receive organ transplant can be reduced and minimized greatly (David 2000).
Proponents of this argument states that if moral and ethical considerations are to be considered, its ethical and morally right to save a live by organ transplant and subsequent compensation for the donor than allow the patient die while there was an alternative. Therefore compensation of organ donation should be allowed to show kindness and save the life of a patient. This will solve the increasing number of deaths as a result of delayed organ transplant and also the deaths due to shortage of organs will greatly be reduced to a greater extent. Compensation of organ donation is an incentive that Nelson argued that would increase supply of these vital organs in hospitals and preserves the fundamental principles of life preservations (Mark 2005).
He argues against implementation of political laws and ethical public policies as the greatest hindrances in achievement of these objectives where potential donors could have otherwise saved a life. US law governing this field through restrictions of organ donations like National Organ Transplant Act should undergo thorough revision to allow more chances for saving more lives that otherwise will continue to get lost in the due process. This is mostly important since the current system is purely on altruistic grounds because they is no provision for compensation to donors of these vital organs that is legally recognized. The situation is further complicated if the donor relative does not match with the recipient patient (David 2000).
Then it becomes difficult for a donor to give the specific receipt the organ in question. If an external donor volunteers to offer his organ, often will people question his sanity and overlooks the offer because they think there are underground dealing that the donor have with the good Samaritan donor in an untraceable manner and this would be in violation of The National Organ Transplant Act. The health liberalization has integrated the comp0aensation plans for donors as part of the medical field. It is observed that, many individuals and corporate health care programs are profit oriented; sale and compensation of human organs should be integrated in the medical field as part and parcel of the whole system (Oscar and Christopher 1995).
Therefore, the sale of human organs should be integrated with other normal medical service provisions. He proponents argue that, medical field over the recent years have experienced and witnessed evolvement and innovations which have been developed by medical stakeholders, however, they are not willing to give them and put them into practice until they get something from their ideas, the same scenario is not any different from compensation realized from sale of organ donation, therefore, it should be legalized and formally protected through integration in the medical field. The challenge with the United States organ transplant system, it follows a stipulated system which transplant is carried out systematically and does not follow urgency of the matter (David 2000).
If the direct sale of human organs remains outlawed, the government should implement other programs to increase the amount of donations available. The best was to implement a change that will create drastic effects is to alter the United States laws and regulations that agree with the system by giving consent that involves collection of organs from deceased people unless the objection is made from the family members. If this model is pursued, the number of kidney donations would be increased and many lives would be saved. This program should therefore be made voluntarily and anyone can opt out of it any time if he or she so desires (Mark 2005).
The continued usage and practice of the program would witness many people adapting to the practices and the wider society viewing it as a norm thereby increasing the number of available organs for transplanting both at private and public health care centers. Alternatively, another way of encouraging the potential donors is to offer them an incentive to feel valued for their altruistic actions rather than direct payment for organ donations. This would prevent those with direct motive of selling their organs for material benefits desisting from the same when they consider the issue as the last resort. The facilitation done when they are given a special and additional recognition would pray an important role in the donation process when the donors feel a sense of appreciation from their kind actions that are thoughtful of mothers (Oscar and Christopher 1995).
To deal with organ shortages have been an issues of discussion within the medical circle and its remedy sort for many years. Alternatives have been given including sale which has witnessed opposition from many circles; however, other options have been advanced to deal with organ shortages. Some of them have however just like sale of human organs faced with great opposition not only from the legal side of it but also human rights activists (David 2000).
The proposal to get these human organs for transplant from the condemned criminals in prisons have not only witnessed stiff opposition bit also criticism from majority of the people including criminals themselves. Suggestions have been made that condemned criminals donate their organs after they die while others suggest that criminals should be given an option to choose between donating an organ in exchange of their sentence review. This proposals were advocated with a hope that the number of people (Mark 2005).