Organ transplantation is a recently developed technology used to replace faulty organs with new ones. The most common form of transplant after the corneal one is the kidney transplant. It is the most effective and efficient way of resuming kidney function in the body caused due to kidney failure (various causes) and is proven to be more effective than dialysis. The number of people waiting for a kidney transplant is growing and the number of kidney donors is decreasing rapidly. The sale of kidneys has spawned a raging debate regarding its legal, ethical and economical implications. To know the debate, we must know the organ.
How it works: The kidney is an organ that filters blood to remove all waste products (How Stuff Works, 2010). If the kidney is diagnosed with a disease or is unable to function, then the only long-term option is a kidney transplant. The kidney mainly operates on the principle of osmosis whereby it diffuses blood through the lining of the kidney, which is a semi permeable membrane. After filtering and purifying the blood with the help of nephrons, it switches to active transport discarding the waste as urine and excreta.
The problem being faced is that the donor to recipient ratio is approximately 1:6. This demand has led to an upsurge in kidneys being exchanged for economic purposes illegally. The topic is being reviewed and thoroughly discussed as to whether it should be legalized or not. Most of the kidneys come from deceased donors and very few actually donate their organs, as there is no incentive for it. According to the Istanbul convention the legal price of a kidney is $0. The demand far outstrips the supply. Given the circumstances we should deeply consider legalizing kidney sales for the benefit of the community. This leads us to the question is a kidney transplant really necessary? Don’t we have any other option?
Effectiveness of science: In case of terminal kidney diseases, transplant is the only option. The process of kidney transplantation might be long, but dialysis is a far more tiring and exasperating process that involves trips to the hospital regularly. Another advantage is that dialysis is a technological method developed by scientists and requires a machine, where there remain margins for error and hygiene. Kidney transplants only require the switching of organs. Most patients who have a transplanted kidney are recorded to survive 12-20 years longer than patients with dialysis (Explore Transplant, 2012). The process of dialysis is that a special machine is used to filter your blood. There are two wires connected to it, each one connects to an arm.
The blood usually goes from your left arm (this blood has waste products), through the machine and back into the right arm (this is filtered and purified blood). Dialysis is very expensive in the long run as it costs a small amount for each visit while kidney transplant is just one operation. A machine does the dialysis whereas the transplanted kidney machine does it inside the body making the chances of getting infected quite less and the dialysis only does about 10% of the work an actual kidney does (Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, 2013). This leads us to the conclusion that kidney transplant is a better option than dialysis. To make a justified decision, all aspects and impacts need to be looked into. A couple of them are discussed below.
One world 1: Ethical Impact: People debate a lot over the moral impact of kidney donation or sale. Most people think money is not equivalent to a body part in any way. There are others who think that since it is their body, they can do what they please. However as the number of donors decrease, desperate times call for desperate measures, people need more economic incentive. They need to be made aware of donating organs if something unforeseen happens. The thought is that it is worse if you don’t save someone’s life when you can do something about it. Ethically it depends on which belief the person relies on more.
Most people say that a body part is precious and that life is gift, but that doesn’t mean we can’t save others without destroying ourselves. The people who do not agree with that point use this as their defense. It might is not completely wrong to sell a kidney, so that is why legal sales of kidneys should be allowed is their viewpoint. The other viewpoint is that an organ is god’s gift; therefore selling it will make it a commodity instead of an organ which people feel is ethically wrong. However people feel that they have the autonomy to self-govern their body’s organs and make their own decisions about morality and ethics. They say that it is a right they have to sell their kidney.
This might fix the shortage of kidney donations as the going rate is 1:6 (Santa Clara University, 2012). Ethics might be confusing, but the anatomy is not; the only way to increase kidney donations is to legalize sales. The ethics of this are right as it is the person’s body and that person decides what to do with it. The idea of legalizing sales is ethically okay for most in society, as it helps those on need and themselves, while committing no wrong.
One World 2: Economical Impact: Debates are being discussed as to whether economic incentive is the right way to go, but it certainly is a better way of making money than selling drugs. Many people might be in desperate need of money and so this might be beneficial to poor people who can sell their kidneys for money. This is beneficial to both parties as both gain something from this transaction, I strongly think the economic impact does more good than bad. This might be a small hiccup for the doctors, but it is a hurdle that can be overcome.
The major problem is that the aristocrats will feel a sense of empowerment given to them and will try to take advantage of this thus making this a business rather than a service. This will make the concept a one way idea as only the poor can supply and the rich will buy. This will in turn lead to suspicions. However more incentive will lead to more donations, which will save more lives, this is good, but only the rich can afford to buy these organs. Most people agree that economic incentives are the best and most efficient ay to boost donations (The Wall Street Journal, 2007).
Many people couldn’t agree more, and most think that this is a transaction that will benefit both parties. People with opposing points of view, say that this will benefit only the rich, they are right, however, prices can be lowered into the future so that everyone can but kidneys. All in all this is a fine way of fixing the donation problems that many countries face.
To conclude, I believe that selling kidneys should be legal as they are ethically okay and economically very beneficial to most parties. This law would increase the number of donors who are willing to offer kidneys and many people who are waiting for one magical phone call, might get it because of this one law. This one law should be legalized as it can save a lot of lives that are desperate need of kidneys and it can offer money to those in need of it. As stated above they mostly have positive impacts on society in more than just ethical and economic ways.
Those are only the two above stated factors. The social benefit is that this can save more lives and reduce donor to recipient ratio, as that is very high now. This can improve how people live in society and how many people there are in society. This is one of the best ways to improve all round life I terms of health as it can help more than a 100,000 people who wait for a kidney or any other organ.