The Negative Effects of Peddling Organs for Profit
The most frightening news that many people can receive is a negative medical diagnoses. One of the most feared of diagnoses is one involving the inefficiency, damage to or failure of a bodily organ. Unlike the appendix and spleen, most organs cannot be lived without. Sometimes the only recourse for such patients is to work to treat their immediate symptoms, work to prolong their life and wait for a possible organ transplant. Such transplants require an available organ, a proper genetic match between donor and recipient and this, still, leaves patients with a possibility that their body may still reject an even ideally matched organ. Unfortunately, there is an ever-growing need for organs and hardly enough to meet that demand. Organs are generally donated either from donors who marked themselves an “organ donors” after death or family members may donate the organs of a deceased loved one if no measures were otherwise specified. Since donations are not meeting demands and people are dying while waiting on lists to receive the new organ that may never come. That said there is a heated debate concerning how to resolve the problems and meet demands. Many have offered the controversial solution of allowing organs to be sold to those who need them. Ideally, financial gain would encourage more donors and help meet the great medical need. However, there are many who are entirely opposed to that solution. They argue that to sell organs is unethical and will only lead to negative outcomes in the long term. Given the research and studies reviewed it is the latter argument that holds the greatest weight. If human organ sales were legally allowed in the United States it would cause a devaluation of humanity and diminish the quality of human lives leading to negative effects, including the potential for unethical industry easily abused and misused, will contribute to greater economic and societal divide and, finally and most relevant, is it will place a monetary value on individual human lives.
Human transplants have been performed since the 1950s. Through the years the science has improved, the technological contributions have increased and new anti-rejection drug therapies have been introduced to help increase the percentages of a successful transplant. Today, as mentioned, there is a far greater need of organs than there are available organs to go around. There are many people, who mark themselves as donors, but that is a promise with no immediate application; after all with the exception of kidneys, organs can only be donated after death. In the meantime, people may weight years and never receive the organ that they need (Kishore, 2005). Organs are received with no guarantees of success, a limited pool of available and matching organs and, most importantly, are given as an act of compassion, empathy and altruism. Unfortunately, relying on those who are willing to give is simply not enough and therefore other incentives must be considered in order to encourage greater number of organs being offered. The solution to that problem, for many, is the allowance of organ sales. These supporters feel that people will be greatly motivated to allow organs to be taken and “repurposed” if there is a monetary incentive. The need to save lives has to outweigh ethical considerations to the contrary. Those who are opposed to such allowances argue that the ethical consideration cannot be overlooked and can and will lead to negative outcomes as a direct response (Hippen, Friedman Ross & Sade, 2009). That said the two sides do not see eye-to-eye on the issues and the argument ensues. The reality is that if human organ trade and sales is allowed to come into practice it will directly cause a number of unpleasant effects on modern society; these effects could change the nature of modern society and lead to a number of means of devaluing human beings.
An Unethical Industry Easily Misused
If it becomes legal to trade and sell human organs it would create a money-making industry, where human organs are a profitable commodity. To make certain of those profits those involved may option to allow unethical practices in order to achieve economic goals. For example, people could make money off their dying or deceased loved ones, instead of making decision that may save their lives. They are more valuable dead than alive. It could lead to people literally stealing organs from others; what keeps someone from forcibly taking organs from a homeless person, leaving them to die and selling them to the highest bidder (Kishore 2005).The medical industry is less likely to question the ethical acquisition of the organs, but more on the profits; encouraging more and more questionable behavior. Also, what would become of those who do not wish to make a profit and simply donate their organs to whomever needs them? Firstly, altruism would likely cease in the face of potential profit and very likely donation facilities would find means to profit even from what may have decidedly donated. (Wilkinson, 2015).
Will Create a Greater Economic and Societal Divide
If organs become a commodity and valuable merchandise to be sold then it goes without saying that those with greater financial means will have greater access to transplant organs. It will no longer be a matter of a waiting one’s turn on a list or being matched based on severity and immediacy of need, but on whoever has the most money to spend (Wilkinson, 2015). This means that all of the poor who need organs could be denied. It could also cloud the quality of the organs received. If a legal market is developed for organs, it will only benefit the already existing black market. (Friedman & Friedman, 2006). As the sellers make money off the sales to the wealthy, the poor will have no choice but to turn to the underground for their organ needs. This will only increase the instances of kidnappings, murders and organ theft for the sake of profit and profit alone (Budiani-Saberi & Delmonico, 2008).
Placing a Monetary Value on Human Life
This is the most important and relevant aspect of this very controversial ethical dilemma. It is a dangerous precedent to set, to allow the right to life to be solely decided by who can afford it. Someone may feel that they want a million dollars for their mother’s heart or will trade it for a fancy sports car. This allows individual sellers to have the power to decide how much an individual human life is worth. Human beings are not property and therefore their parts cannot be featured as a commodity either, at least if one wants to follow the spirit of those existing and founding ideologies Again the lives of the poor are valued less than the economic losses and gains (Bjorkman & Hansson, 2012). This is the kind of ethically questionable future is not an impossible one. It begins with the allowance of human organs as a profitable, marketable and lucrative industry.
Arguments to the contrary offer that the saving of lives must be considered as a utilitarian goal. What will save the most lives is the best and most ethical option available. If allowing the sale of organs will help to meet the needed demand for organs that it is the best decisions (Hippen, Friedman Ross & Sade, 2009). Unfortunately, that argument is flawed. Because the sale of organs will only benefit the very wealthy, who account for a small percentage of the population, then the majority, the people of average and poverty level incomes, would have little recourse and would still be left to wait for an organ that may never come. By legalizing sales, money would make the decisions. The one who can pay the most for it will live another day. This is not an ethically sound decision, but in a world of legalized organ sales it is one that could be asked in the future (Perry, 2012).
The future of human modern medicine improves and advances in leaps and bounds on a rather regular basis. There may come a time when the need for organ transplants is a thing of the past. Alternative options like artificial organ options or regenerative medicines that could conceivable allow individuals to regenerate their own health organs and tissue, eliminating transplants all together. With the implications of technology and new therapies, like stem-cell research, who knows what new options may revolutionize and change medicine for all time. In the meantime, the present situation finds there is a far greater need for organs than there are people who are willing to donate them. Even when theses transplants are performed there is still a level of uncertainty of success; with so few organs to choose from the forfeit of a single one is a precious loss. Legalized organ sales would cause nothing but negative effects and set unethical precedents. The solution to the organ donation issue cannot and be solved with the implementation of organ sales; it simply is not the answer. The bulk of dedicated research supports the concept as a poor choice with little benefit in the grander scheme of things. Ultimately, the allowance of such practices would diminish the quality of human lives via a potentially unethical and abused industry, will create a greater and wider socio-economic divide and place an inappropriate monetary value to individual human lives, valuing some more than others. Further study into other potential alternatives to legalized organ sales should be considered and studied.
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