Today, society allows people to donate organs, place their organ donor status on their driver’s license and at hospitals when signing in, but the government and FDA are against the selling of human organs. This legislation has been in place since 1984, when the National Organ Transplant Act banned any type of financial compensation for organ donation ("Financial incentives for organ donation," 2010). The question arises if there is a difference. I believe that just like paying your taxes, one should indeed have the rights to do as they please with their bodies. It should be within one’s rights to sell their organs as long as the proper protocol is followed just like the regulations to file income tax every year (Lacetera, Macis, & Stith, 2014).
Organ shortage is a major issue in transplant medicine today. Many strategies have been employed to attempt to overcome the increasing organ shortage. Even though more and more people are donating organs, the transplant waiting list is growing at a much faster rate. Organ donations are simply not increasing at a fast enough rate to keep up with the demand. The kidney organ transplant waiting list grows at a rate of 7-8% every year (Monaco, 2007). Many efforts are being made to encourage more people to consider organ donation, but so far, none of them have been good enough to solve the shortage problem. Medicine is changing its rules so that organs which would not have been accepted for donation a few years ago are now accepted and used in some appropriate cases, but this has not been enough to solve the problem. Extended criteria for transplant organs has allowed many more organs to become eligible for donation, but it has not been able to keep up with the demand, which is ever increasing. Therefore, people are beginning to reconsider the initial policy of banning organ donation with financial compensation. Many are thinking that donors should be compensated for travel costs, healthcare costs and other expenses involved in making the organ donation, but others are even thinking of providing a direct payment for the donated organ. After all, the initial law of the NOTA in 1984 was enacted only to prevent exploitation. It did not say that giving money to organ donors for their contribution was against medical ethics. Therefore, in my opinion, it is reasonable to consider payment for human organ donation as an incentive that might increase organ donations in the future.
The FDA and the government are in control of everything that we do. I am unsure why it is not possible to sell human organs to a person in need or with the aim of saving a life. Every day our country (government) is sending food to feed the hungry, medicine for the sick and building homes for the less fortunate. The government can help others in need but can’t assist one’s own country by letting the people sell organs to save a life or help someone in need. You are allowed to help others in situations such as paying bills, home, car, child care and food just to name a few. Most people donating organs are not trying to get rich and just want to help someone in need of an organ. The government can exert control on prices and situations in which organs are donated for money. That way, the organ shortage problem can be resolved. There can be a certain amount of protection for the patient from people trying to take advantage of how helpless they are. There are many ways in which the FDA and government could create laws that would protect both sides of the party. They can control the prices in the organ market to make sure that the poor section of the patient population does not get exploited. They can also provide indirect financial compensation to the donor by providing incentives like free health insurance. The government already does similar things for people volunteering for the army, by giving them free college education and taking care of their health expenses (Monaco, 2007). Since they run programs like welfare assistance and Medicaid, it is possible for them to exert control over the human organ trade as well. Only the government can legalize and control something like human organ donations. Clearly, they should not be afraid to take up this responsibility for the welfare of the people.
It is a great mistake to not allow the people to sell their organs because it encourages people to do the same in the black market, where there is no control or regulation. Initially, the laws created by the NOTA banning financial compensation for organ donation were created to protect the poor from exploitation by middle men for financial gain. However, despite this law, the black market in organ trade has flourished in many countries and many citizens in the US go overseas or obtain their organs through black market means. This is hardly the ideal situation for all parties concerned. The citizens of the country know that the black market for organ trade has health hazards in countless ways. Health, sterilization and infection prevention are all compromised. Picking up organs from overseas becomes the only possibility because of the shortage we have here in the United States. Therefore, one of the strongest arguments for selling human organs legally is the illegal trade that goes on as we speak. In the medical field, it is dangerous to allow a black market of this sort to exist. It becomes even more important for the government to step in and regulate it. Black markets will always exist when there is a great need for something like human organs, so the only way is to make laws and policies that allow human organ trade in a legal and controlled manner. The government can tightly regulate all financial payouts to donors and ensure that exploitation is kept to a minimum and prices do not spin out of control. In this way, it will be possible to make sure that it is being conducted in a medically safe manner for everyone involved, both the donor and the person receiving the organs ("FDA Approves Roche's COBAS AmpliScreen Hepatitis C and HIV-1 Tests To Improve Safety of Organ and Tissue Donations," 2005). The function of the government to regulate the human organs supply is neither fair nor just. Many people are using the black market to save their family member’s life because of these reasons. The controversy over people getting organs from the black market should be a big wake up call that we need to do something different and allow the sale of human organs to the people. It will help save more lives of people right here in this country.
Our country’s citizens are well educated and they follow rules and regulations in almost every sphere of life. The FDA, the government and the law can easily come together to create the right policy to sell human organs and make rules and regulations to protect the trade. For example, a felon does not have the right to vote, a DUI can’t drive a vehicle, for the purchase of a home and the adoption of a child, there are policies to follow and legal sanctions to be obtained. It is likely that if the FDA and the government got together and created justified and reasonable laws regarding human organ trade, then the citizens and the healthcare industry would welcome this step from them with open arms. We need to change the law, rules and policy to legalize the human organ donor trade. The FDA and the government should try to see the other side of the coin and realize that organ sales just mean people helping people in need. Legalizing it would also mean no shortage like there is now with human organs. Almost every possession these days can be bought for money and in this time and age, everything has a dollar value, not excepting human organs. Therefore, we should not be afraid of recognizing this medical fact and using it to help other people.
It is not sensible to be in a situation where neither the public nor the government is benefiting, and any profits to be made are going to the black market which is pocketing all the money as we speak. The FDA and Government need to wake up and let the people help keep down the black market and work on making changes within our very own country to save more lives. It is important to ask who is suffering from the lack of tissues and organs that can save human lives. The concept of human organ donation exists so that one human being can help another in need if it is possible and that concept is getting forgotten and is losing priority today. Even if this strategy increases organ donations by a small percentage, the impact on the patients in need of organs will be huge. It will be worth it even if a few more lives can be saved and a few more potential organ donors become motivated to donate their organs in return for some monetary benefits. Unfortunately, we have lost sight of the main goals of human organ donation. We are keeping many patients from getting the medical help they need. Policy must be changed if it can improve human lives in any way.
If, in fact, we don’t make any changes in the policy, this human organ donor trade is likely to get even worse. The truth is that we do not have as many donors as we did a few years ago. In the face of organ shortage, the demand for organs is only growing. The system of human organ donation is in need of a major change to ensure that we have enough donors, whether they donate as volunteers or charge a price for their donation (Marilyn Werber & Gia, 2001). Maybe this change will be good for organ donation and might even encourage more people to donate or sell organs to save lives. The situation could very well be that one of your own family members is in need of an organ and there is no suitable donor to help. What would you do? Chances are, you would appreciate a system where there are more options for you and more potential donors that could help you. The fact remains that more donors are a necessity. The number of people waiting for transplants is increasing faster than the increase in the number of donors. The sooner we realize this, the better it is for everyone involved. The problem is not going to go away on its own. It is up to the government and the citizens to make changes and come up with new solutions. Many believe that financial compensation for human organ donations is an inevitable step in the future of medicine. Therefore, it is important for the government to take steps to make it happen sooner rather than later. Maybe some more patient lives can be saved if new legislation comes into place.
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