Buying and selling of organs proves immoral


Art by Jennifer Stanley depicts a gruesome nature in the process of donating organs. Art by Jennifer Stanley

Hagar Gov-Ari


Art by Jennifer Stanley depicts a gruesome nature in the process of donating organs. Art by Jennifer Stanley
Art by Jennifer Stanley depicts a gruesome nature in the process of donating organs. Art by Jennifer Stanley
Upon applying for a learner’s permit at 15 or a driver’s license at 16, every individual is faced with the unnerving question, the split second yes or no answer that determines whether or not you will be putting your body’s fate in the hands of medicine: allowing for the donation of your organs upon the time of your death.
It happens to every driver in the United States. As for what this stamp of fate signifies, it all depends on the country someone lives in. The time it takes to answer the question, to print the donation symbol on a card, to sign a consent form. The time it takes for money to exchange hands, and the time it takes for the incredible concept of literally giving from yourself to save someone else. It can either remain a pure and life-saving practice, or can turn into a cynical, defiled practice used to economically benefit the greedy and amoral. This subtle change — the buying and selling of organs — is the difference.
Through the past several years international scholars have been researching ways to better trade organs, which brought to question the general public’s stance on monetary compensation for the donation of organs, essentially legalizing the black market.
Recently, a poll conducted by Dr. Braden Manns of the Libin Cardiovascular Institute of Alberta and Institute for Public Health showed that public health workers and people affected with kidney disease seem to think it’s okay to buy and sell organs using a legal market. Although they discovered a general consensus that the current organ distribution system is generally fair and ethical, their surveying also revealed the public’s growing belief that the system doesn’t provide enough, and therefore deserves a review for some form of change.
The National Organ Transplant Act passed by Congress in 1984 strongly condemns and made illegal the buying and selling of human tissues and organs in the United States, and for good reason. This would give the wealthy an unfair advantage for “obtaining donated organs and tissues.” By creating a “rich survive, poor perish” situation, what should be life saving becomes an unbalanced and dirty practice that could potentially overthrow the whole medical system.
As if this isn’t enough of a reason to maintain a firm, deliberate stance on the banning of monetary trade for organs, there are a multitude of additonal reasons that this practice would not only be immoral, but also widely impractical. This seneseless trading could potentially lead to the selling of organs from those individuals who need the money, but don’t necessarily want to give up their organs. Giving the desperate the opportunity to sell a vital organ for cold cash not only puts their own health and wellbeing at risk, but also opens the doors to many potential lawsuits and danger for the patient.
This also brings up the questions — who will pay for the organs of the seller? Will there be unfair advantages for those with means? How could this potentially affect “murder for money” death rates?
Because every one of these questions has potentially detrimental answers, it would ultimately be morally reprehensible to condone the legalization of the trade of organs and tissues for monetary compensation.
The many reasons behind condoning the market of organs to be monetarily based are not without justification. According to, more than 114,000 men, women and children are waiting for organs for transplantation in the United States. Every 10 minutes, a new name is added to the national waiting list for organs. On average, 18 people die every day because of the lack of donated organs. That’s simply an unacceptable statistic.
Of course many want the process sped up; it will save people! And sure, it may save them in the clinical sense. But instead of looking for the quick and easy way to solve such a detrimental lack of resources, the public should consider saving modern and future society in the moral sense.
Scientists shouldn’t encouraging the public to auction off their body parts, but they should focus as much time and energy as possible searching for an alternate solution which does not involve a diminished sense of one’s consecrated organs.
Investing time and energy in enforcing this system as a safe and legal practice, which would doubtlessly fail, is a colossal mistake and a tremendous waste of resources. It would be far more beneficial to invest this time in bio-genetic research for the advancement of all manner of progressive scientific innovations, as opposed to investing in the deterioration of one of the only practices in the United States which has an obivious and clear moral compass.
The plethora of amazing research that could save lives and the practice of organ donation has been heavily reliant on those procedures using xenografts and xenotransplantation. These involve the transplantation of organs and tissues from different species, such as porcine heart valve transplants and studies on piscine-primate (fish to non-human primate) transplants. These incredible findings have made way to an endless amount of genetic research to better the practice of medicine.
Trying to solve a problem with an ultimately dirty and faulty solution of buying and selling only gives rise to religious and moral protests that would result in a cheap solution to a clean practice. By improving studies and shifting focus from these faults to a better and more medically rich future, society can avoid having to look this potential mistake in the eye, and avoid the ultimate downfall which would come with making this endlessly immoral decision. Instead of giving more advantages to the upper class, we need to level the playing field.
By Hagar Gov-Ari