Is it ethical to buy or sell human organs? For this ethical issue, a college student with heavy financial burdens chooses to sell his kidney to meet his urgent financial needs, however, he later learns that it is illegal to sell his own kidney. Therefore, why should it be illegal for him to sale his own kidney if we have free will over our own bodies and we have the right to what we can or cannot do with our bodies? If medical companies can turn a profit on dead people’s donated bodies and organs then why can’t we make a profit on our own organs while we are still living?
Would commoditizing the sale of organs hurt the poor and benefit the rich? So many questions and very little we can do about any of it, after all, the government tries to controls our lives while we are living and apparently owns our bodies when we’re dead, if we mark organ donor on our legal government issued identification cards. Therefore, would it be ethical for individuals to buy or sell human organs? The government always attempts to control anything that would benefit itself or those that benefit from government control.
With the National Organ Transplant Act of 1984 being the government’s attempt to control the individuals rights to sell their own organs or the families “right to transfer, devise, possess, and lease the human organs and tissues” (Wikipedia, “National Organ Transplant Act of 1984. “) of their deceased family member’s body or organs. The government has facilitated a law that would allow the government to control the use and distribution of deceased person’s bodies and organs based on a national donor transplant registry and not the desires of the deceased family.
With this law it makes the recipient of the organs anonymous and the family of the deceased doesn’t have any rights to know the recipient, but only what organs were donated. Therefore, the people who financially benefit from said organ transfers would be the Organ Procurement Organizations and the facilities where the transplant took place. Where would that leave the family members of the deceased? With such government laws the families of the deceased don’t benefit financially and in return suffer emotionally, spiritually, and mentally with the death of their loved ones and not knowing ere their loved ones organs live on. How is this ethical for the donating families involved? How is it ethical for the student to be denied the right to sell his kidney? If we look at the students situation with the Utilitarian ethical theory. We can establish that the arrangement to sell his kidney would be to the benefit of all parties involved, except the government.
The student would benefit with $25,000 to cover all his financial burdens and the dying patient would benefit with a new kidney. With recent studies in medical science it has been proven that there “poses no significant health risk for the donor. (Berman, “Selling Organs should be Legal. “) Then the most bearing fact supporting the Utilitarian theory would be that the student would not risk anything selling one of his kidneys and the recipient receiving the kidney would live a healthy normal life. Their transaction does not affect the lives of others and would stand to prove that there is a solution to the lack of viable organs. The number of “people waiting for life-saving organs has grown from 35,000 to 87,000” (Berman, “Selling Organs should be Legal. “) over the past ten years.
The chances that the patient needing the kidney would die before one became available is extremely high in comparison to the chances that the student donor could die selling his kidney. Therefore, if both parties involved benefited it would prove the Utilitarian theory to be ethically correct, making it ethical to sell and buy human organs. The Utilitarian theory values the benefits of the transplant and focuses of the mutual benefits of the donor and the recipient. Would commoditizing the sale of organs hurt the poor and benefit the rich? We could ook at this position using Kant’s Duty Ethics and rule that listing organs for sale on EBay and amazon unethical. Kant’s views towards marketing organs is that it’s disrespectful to the human dignity and she is against voluntary donation as well.
According to Kant’s Duty Ethics we have a duty to not harm one’s body and a duty to self-conservation. Kant’s Practical imperative view is that no person should be used as a means for someone else’s end. Therefore, someone using someone else’s organs to prolong their life would be unethical. According to J. D. Kunin, “The permissibility to sell an organ raises the concern that the wealthy may exploit and coerce the desperately poor. ” Poor people in desperate situations would be more likely to sell their organs to meet their financial need and wealthy people who need organs would use this disadvantage to meet their need. Therefore, the legalization of selling and buying organs would hurt the poor, benefit the rich and according to Kant’s Duty Ethics this would be highly unethical. The fact that removing ones organ to benefit another human being and not one self is the most bearing to support Kant’s Duty Ethics theory.
Kant’s Duty Ethics focuses on the donor and not the benefits of the recipient. Kant Duty Ethics values self-conservation. Why should it be illegal for the student to sale his own kidney if we have free will over our own bodies and we have the right to what we can or cannot do with our bodies? According to Robert Berman, “It is legal for men to sell their sperm, for women to “rent” their wombs as surrogate mothers or sell their limited number of reproductive eggs, and for people to sell their blood and hair, all of which specifically render the body a commodity. Therefore, why does this change when it comes to other part of our bodies like organs? Is it because the financial benefits that come from these other procedures are significantly less or that people are willing to do anything including committing crimes in order to obtain a lifesaving organ. If it means life or death, people are more likely to do things they wouldn’t have done otherwise, like going underground and getting transplant surgery in a third world country.
People facing death are willing to go to extremes to save their own lives and patients who travel abroad to purchase organs experience no legal repercussions upon their return. Therefore, the laws prohibiting the legal sale of organs within the United States and the long waiting lists for viable organs, is in some aspect helping our poor but dehumanizing the poor of the third world countries. I would support the Utilitarian theory and agree we should legalize the sell and purchase of human organs.
I would support this theory because according to Kunin, “the number of patients dying while awaiting transplantation in the United States alone is estimated to be 6000 annually. ” I would rather see 6000 people have the possibility to find an organ from a living donor through the purchase of organs rather than they die while waiting for someone else to die. If we can come to agree that the current system is benefiting from death by causing death, then we can come to agree that we should benefit from life while there is still lives to save. Why not allow people to sell their organs as long as it doesn’t result in their death.
Of course it would be ignorant to allow a perfectly healthy human being to commit suicide by selling their heart or some other vital organs to benefit their families financially, however, donating a kidney or a portion of their liver won’t kill them. I support this theory because if I am willing to sell my kidney and the other person is willing to pay my price, we both benefit and we are not hurting others, therefore, there is nothing unethical about the situation. Now some may argue that it is unethical for me to sell my kidney, because even though I don’t see or for see any complications now, I don’t know my future.
They would argue I can’t guarantee the outcome of the procedure or say for sure that I will never regret selling my kidney. They could argue Kant Duty Ethics and say that I am not conserving my body and that I am taking risks that could result in my death. I unfortunately could not agree with the Kant Duty Ethics, because I am a firm believer in helping others and would rather sale or donate my kidney than see another person die because of a lack of organs, when I am more than capable of doing a lifesaving deed.
Therefore, it is ethical to sell or buy organs, when it’s your own organs you are selling or you know the persons organ you are buying. However, the illegal process of trafficking humans to sell organs would not be ethical. According to Kelly, “instances of human trafficking for organ removal are also prevalent. ” Many people are kidnapped for their organs and this type of organ buying is unethical. I still support the move towards legalizing the organ market, however, it should be regulated. I support selling and buying of organs at reasonable prices and that the recipient should know the donor, whether live or dead.
I also, support that the families of deceased should know who receives their loved ones organs and they should receive compensation. The transfer of deceased organs should be heavily regulated to detect the death is not a result of murder for financial gain. Some may argue that people in desperate situations where their families are suffering financially may be more tempted to sell their organs or attempt suicide that would result in brain death but organ preservation so their families would benefit from the financial compensation.
However, how many people would choose a death that kills the organs, therefore, resulting in unviable unsellable organs, resulting in no compensation. People logically would not use this excuse to commit suicide. However, they may sell their organs that can be sold without dying, but isn’t that after all their body. Are they not entitled to do as they please to their own bodies, much like donate sperm, blood, or bone marrow? Then why can’t we sell our kidneys or a portion of our liver? Is it not the same principle?