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Ethics And The Commercialization Of Organ Transplants

1084 words - 4 pages

Commercialization of organ transplants has remained a highly debated issue and has been being considered unethical mostly. Mostly points have been raised by scholars and researchers against it. People have generally opposed the idea of sales of human organs like spare parts. However, it is also essential to check the other side of the same issue. The availability of organs required for transplantation has generally remained low and many deaths have also been caused due to unavailability of organs at the time they are needed. There are two aspects of this debate. The first aspect is that if people have the right to sell their own body parts. The second aspect is will not it give rise to illegal sales of organs since every second we know in various parts of the world people are waiting for organ transplants. Keeping these points in view it gets difficult to reach a conclusion if commercialization of organ transplant can be considered ethical.
Seeing the wide gap that exists between the availability and the need of organs for transplant, it really seems essential to facilitate sales of organs to meet the demand and to save lives. Consented organ donations till now in our society have remained limited and not all people agree to it. Seeing the demand for cadaveric organs for transplantation, it does not appear possible that the current voluntary opt in system will be able to match the demand. The number of potential donors is high. But despite that only 15% of organs from potential donors are being transplanted. There are both psychological and cultural reasons behind it. (Dougherty, 1986) People generally are unable to decide whether they should donate their organs after death or rather their bodies should be buried without any surgery. In such a case there are very few people who would willingly consent when they are alive to donate their organs after death. Then it comes to the next of the kin. However, in times of death especially if death has happened under tragic circumstances, it becomes difficult to ask the next of kin to donate their loved one’s organs voluntarily.
Still, we very well know that the demand for organs for transplant has kept rising and we need to find a way so that there are enough donations to match the demand. There can be two ways in such a scenario. The first is that the people are offered financial incentives for donating their organs after death and the second is that the state be granted this authority. However, both of these have given rise to discussions related to ethical acceptance. Commercialization of organs would also most likely lead to quality related problems as well as provide some people the incentives to shorten lives for money. (Dougherty, 1986) All the ethical debate has mostly surrounded the issue that if commercialization of organs would not lead to illegal obtaining of organs through illegal means for sale to the persons in need. This can definitely not be encouraged.
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