Can I please buy one of your kidneys?

Should we legalise the sale of human organs?

In the UK alone the average waiting time for a kidney transplant is 3 years, this costs the NHS around £24,000 per patient per year and in 2013 – 2014 1000 people died whilst on the transplant waiting list. Dialysis patients also often say they feel that they are just existing rather than living. But, if these patients could get a transplant from a living donor, their life expectancy would increase up to 23 years and their lives could really begin. With increasing cuts to the NHS budget is it possible that the cost-effectiveness of kidney transplant might persuade the government to legalise a market in human organs?  The implementation of a legal organ market would also increase the human organ supply and eliminate the consequences of the black market.

Due to a shortage in organs, the black market and transplant tourism is thriving. Annually, 15,000 – 20,000 illegal kidney transplants take place around the world, often in developing countries such as India and the Philippines. There are even slums in the Philippines dubbed “kidney-vile”, as the majority of the slum’s residents have been driven to sell a kidney. But the black market is built on systematic deception. Brokers coerce desperate workers to sell a kidney then give them much less money than they were promised. Nor do they care about the surgical quality and often leave donors with little or no aftercare. Consequently, donors often become ill and are unable to continue their usual hard labour, which perpetuates their poverty, rather than alleviating it. Recipients are also affected by black market fraud: often these kidneys are not screened properly and donors are coerced to cheat their medical records. As a result of these schemes and poor hygiene standards, recipients often contract diseases such as hepatitis B/C and HIV.

Group of men from Baseco “Kidney-ville” in Philippines, displaying their scars from selling a kidney.
Group of men from Baseco “Kidney-ville” in Philippines, displaying their scars from selling a kidney.

Iran is currently the only country with a compensated and regulated kidney donation program. In this system, there are no brokers and it is charity organizations that coordinates donors with recipients. The government pay a fixed price for organs and cover the costs of all necessary aftercare for donors. Due to this system, Iran is currently the only country with no kidney transplant waiting list. It has also successfully eliminated its black market, and has still maintained a respectable percentage of altruistic donations. Nevertheless there are flaws to the Iranian system as discussed here.

Erin & Harris proposed an ethical, highly regulated, system in which only individuals within a nation are eligible to sell or receive organs. The market would have one purchaser (e.g. the NHS in the UK) and organs would be allocated fairly, giving recipients an equal chance of receiving a transplant regardless of their economic background. This system would also remove the draw for brokers, and subsequently reduce the exploitation of vulnerable people. Medical screening would ensure only healthy individuals could sell an organ, which would to minimise risk (Gill & Sade, 2002). Such a system would also provide proper medical care for donors who would also benefit from a full psychological evaluation, to make sure they are aware of the consequences of their actions.

A study of 478 donors from the Iranian regulated system has shown their health did not deteriorate after the sale, and that 90% of them were content with selling their kidney. These results contrast markedly with the study of 305 Indian donors in an unregulated market. The health of 90% of these donors declined, people living below the poverty line rose up to 20% and 79% of donors would not recommend selling a kidney. This shows that within a regulated program, both vendors and patients are better cared for and are more satisfied with the transplant process.

The strongest argument against the sale of organ is the possible exploitation of the poor. Critics argue that legalisation could lead to a market that would exploit poorer people, as they might view organ sale as a last resort. But, is it exploitation if a person makes a reasoned decision to take an action they consider to be the best option to improve their life? One can’t assume that money would simply overrule a person’s judgment. A black market would also lead to greater exploitation than any legalised market ever would. Prohibiting an organ market is paradoxical, to restrict an individual’s autonomy and cause moral harms to liberty.

Another prominent argument against the sale of human organs is that it would lead to commodification of the human and therefore corrupt human dignity. Commodification is an unsuitable term to use for the sale of a kidney, since there are numerous other circumstances when paying money does not insinuate loss of dignity, such as surrogacy.The scarcity of organs and, death and exploitation of people will not be resolved through rhetoric of moral repugnancy and human dignity.

Under prohibition, patients are suffering and dying whilst waiting for a transplant. Both vendors and recipients are exploited by the black market, and the human rights of poor people are violated. These problems will continue to exist as long as there is a dearth of organs. So, should a market in human organs from living persons be legalised? Or is it merely a naive and impractical idea, only appropriate for a dystopian future. Either way, the possibility of legalising a regulated and ethical market should be explored.

Post by: Alyssa Vongapai


References

Erin, C. A., & Harris, J. (2003). An ethical market in human organs. Journal of Medical Ethics , 29 (3), 137–138.

Ghods, A. J. (2009). Ethical issues and living unrelated donor kidney transplantation. Iranian Journal of Kidney Diseases , 3 (4), 183–191.

Goyal, M. (2002). Economic and Health Consequences of Selling a Kidney in India. Journal of the American Medical Association , 288 (13), 1589.

Higgins, R., West, N., Fletcher, S., Stein, A., Lam, F., & Kashi, H. (2003). Kidney transplantation in patients travelling from the UK to India or Pakistan. Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation , 18 (4), 851–852.

Hippen, B. E. (2005). In defense of a regulated market in kidneys from living vendors. The Journal of Medicine and Philosophy , 30 (6), 593–626.

Kidney Org. (2010). Transplantation Cost Effectiveness. [Online] Available from:http://www.kidney.org.uk/archives/news-archive-2/campaigns-transplantation-trans-cost-effect/. [Accessed on 5 Aug 2016]

MacKellar, C. (2014). Human Organ Markets and Inherent Human Dignity. The New Bioethics: A Multidisciplinary Journal of Biotechnology and the Body , 20 (1), 53–71.

Moazam, F. (2009). Conversations with Kidney Vendors in Pakistan. Hastings Center Report, (June), 29–44.

New Internationalist. (2014). Human traffic: exposing the brutal organ trade. [Online] Available
from:http://newint.org/features/2014/05/01/organ-trafficking-keynote/. [Accessed on 5 Aug 2016]

Organ Donation. (2015). Transplant save lives. [Online] Available from:http://www.organdonation.nhs.uk/newsroom/fact_sheets/transplants_save_lives.asp.
[Accessed on 5 Aug 2016]

Pat Roque. (1999). Group of men from Baseco “Kidney-ville” in Philippines, displaying their scars from selling a kidney [Photograph]. At: https://digital.newint.com.au/issues/88/articles/1890. [Accessed on 5 Aug 2016]

The Wall Street Journal. (2015). Cash for kidneys: The case for a Market for organs. [Online] Available from:http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702304149404579322560004817176.
[Accessed on 5 Aug 2016]

World Socialist Web Site. (2015). Dramatic increase in worldwide illegal organ trade. [Online]
Available from:http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2012/07/orga-j14.html. [Accessed on 5 Aug 2016]

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27 thoughts on “Can I please buy one of your kidneys?

  1. Hi friends greeting from Apollo Hospital India (Dr.Richardson).
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    • Hello everyone, is urgently needed A ,
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  2. Message us immediately.A kidney is bought for a maximum amount of $800,000.00, US Dollars.The National foundation is currently buying healthy kidney.My name is Dr Davis Mall, I’m a Nephrologist in the kidney National hospital.Our Hospital is specialized in Kidney Surgery and we also deal with buying and transplantation of kidneys with a living an corresponding donor. We are located in Indian, Canada, UK, Turkey, USA, Malaysia, South Africa etc If you are interested in selling or buying kidney’s please don’t hesitate to contact us via Email : [email protected] gmail. com
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  7. Are you interested is selling your human parts such as k1dnney,
    Blood,L1vers,with sum of $450,000.00 USD We are urgently in need of
    0gans,For details WhatsAp +91 917 257 7081
    Call +91 917 257 7081 via [email protected]

    • Hello everyone, is urgently needed A ,
      B , O , e.t.c blood group donors between
      the age of 18-65. We give you all
      the entire best attempt, we will
      give you honest price of $230,000.000usd
      best treatment for your
      transplant as top best
      medical treatment it will
      help your future life, kindly
      contact us for more information:
      Mobile +919964491558 WhatsApp:
      +919964491558 via email [email protected]

  8. hello your kind attention please my name is Dr. RIO ROBSEN. Am a Phrenologist in Apollo Hospital. Our Hospital is specialized in Kidney Surgeries and we also deal with Buying and Transplantation of kidneys with a corresponding Donor. We are Located in Indian,If you are interested in Selling or Buying Kidney’s please don’t hesitate to Contact Us Via email: [email protected]
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  9. Apollo hospitals kidney care welcomes all donors as well as buyers to approach to us all blood groups are welcomed here the deal is in india itself no need to go to further countries so passport holders nd non passport holders can also contact us immediate result will be given kindly contact Dr. Philip on 09159469473 or whatsapp him on 07506595980[[email protected]]

  10. We have many patients in our hospital who are urgently in need of kidney
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    via Email: [email protected] OR Whatsapp me 7420028010

  11. hello your kind attention please my name is Dr. RIO ROBSEN. Am a Phrenologist in Apollo Hospital. Our Hospital is specialized in Kidney Surgeries and we also deal with Buying and Transplantation of kidneys with a corresponding Donor. We are Located. in.Indian,If you are interested in Selling or Buying Kidney’s please don’t hesitate to Contact Us Via email: [email protected]
    Mobile / Whatsapp Number : +919789587918

  12. hello your kind attention please my name is Dr. RIO ROBSEN. Am, a Phrenologist in Apollo Hospital. Our Hospital is specialized in Kidney Surgeries and we also deal with Buying and Transplantation of kidneys with a corresponding Donor. We are Located. in.Indian,If you are interested in Selling or Buying Kidney’s please don’t hesitate to Contact Us Via email: [email protected]
    Mobile / Whatsapp Number : +919789587918

  13. We have many patients in our hospital who are urgently in need of kidney
    and they are willing to buy kidney in any amount of money that the donor
    want to sell,please if you are interested in selling your kidney, blood, live
    for money 450,000 USDOLLAR or to save life please it is very urgently for more details
    via Email:[email protected] OR WhatsApp number:+91742002801O

  14. Hello. Do you want to buy or sell your kidney for money? Because Apollo Hospital is urgently in need of O+ve B+ve and A+ve kidney donors. So if anyone is willing to donate or buy please contact us for more details: WhatsApp number: +919686879414No. +919686879414 email: [email protected]

  15. hello your kind attention please my name is Dr. RIO ROBSEN. Am a Phrenologist in Apollo Hospital. Our Hospital is specialized in Kidney Surgeries and we also deal with Buying and Transplantation of kidneys with a corresponding Donor. We are Located. in.Indian,If you are interested in Selling or Buying Kidney’s please don’t hesitate to Contact Us Via email: [email protected]
    Mobile / Whatsapp Number : +919789587918,
    we offer 2 crore Indian rupees or 299,000 USD for each donor and 50% of the amount will be paid before the surgery and 50% after the surgery.

  16. Do you need to raise cash for health care costs or in a state of financial breakdown? Wait! Consider selling your kidney as an Option.
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  17. hello your kind attention please my name is Dr. RIO ROBSEN. Am a Phrenologist,. in Apollo Hospital. Our Hospital is specialized in Kidney Surgeries and we also deal with Buying and Transplantation of kidneys with a corresponding Donor. We are Located. in.Indian,If you are interested in Selling or Buying Kidney’s please don’t hesitate to Contact Us Via email: [email protected]
    Mobile / Whatsapp Number : +919789587918,
    we offer 2 crore Indian rupees or 299,000 USD for each donor and 50% of the amount will be paid before the surgery and 50% after the surgery.

  18. Are you seeking an opportunity to sell your Kidney due to financial problem, kindly contact us today, we shall offer you very good amount for your Kidney. We areJH nd also buying and selling of Kidney with corresponding donor. If you are interested in selling or buying of kidney’s, kindly contact us [email protected]

  19. PUBLIC NOTICES; WE ARE OBSERVING SO MANY THINGS THIS YEAR THAT, A LOT OF PEOPLE ARE WILLING TO DONATE THERE KIDNEY, BUT THEY ARE CHEATED BEFORE BY FRAUD PEOPLE, I WANT TO USE THIS OPPORTUNITY TO SAY SORRY TO YOU ALL. BUT NOW WE ARE COMING FORWARD TO ASSIST YOU PEOPLE IN SELLING OF YOUR KIDNEY, IF YOU ARE REALLY INTERESTED TO SALE YOUR KIDNEY PLEASE CONTACT US NOW TO ASSIST YOU IN A GENUINE WAY FOR YOU TO DONATE YOUR ORGAN. IS REQUIRED VALID ID CARD, AND YOU ARE RECEIVING, $150,000.00 USD,OR 96 LAKHS INR, Dr.B SUBBA RAO OF APOLLO HOSPITAL CHENNAI INDIA,C ONTACT US NOW VIA OUR MAIL ID [email protected]

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