Two years ago, my forty year old aunt was living life day to day as a normal receptionist at a government official building in the Bronx. She was living an ordinary everyday life, until she started experiencing discomfort in her chest. The doctor told her it was simply heartburn. It was not until she could not keep any food down, that she started to doubt the doctor’s prognosis. She visited another physician whom later diagnosed her with congestive heart failure. After days in the hospital, she was released with a defibrillator in her heart and was given a spot on the infamous, never-ending list known as the Organ Procurement and Transplantation network. Like thousands of other people around the world, my aunt is patiently waiting on that call which could in turn save her life; but with the current system there are issues on who is best suited to receive the transplant and who is to coin what is considered “death.” I believe with the idea of legalizing the market for human organs, those two issues would be eliminated and the ultimate goal would inevitably be achieved: saving a life.
According to the United Network for Organ Sharing, there are about 121,215 candidates awaiting a transplant (UNOS, 2014). Of those 120,000, an average of 18 people will die each day waiting. 3,000 of those candidates, including my aunt, are awaiting a heart transplant. But in the coming year, only 2,000 will receive them (National Heart Lung & Blood Institute, 2014). Those who do not receive either die waiting or fall off the list because they develop complications that will not allow them to withstand the surgery.
To try and improve those numbers, many ideas have been proposed and discussed. The idea of creating an incentive for people to give up their organs while they are alive and healthy was proposed by Gary Becker, the Nobel laureate at the University of Chicago (Kaminer, 2010). This somewhat far-reaching idea would simply allow people to receive money for organs they do not necessarily need for survival, such as one of your kidneys or a chunk of your liver. This would ultimately allow each party to benefit. The recipient would receive the organ while the other person could do what they want with money like pay off bills or funeral expenses. These market incentives help adjust the supply and demand issue. Sadly, our country is money driven and gallantry is just not enough anymore. Psychiatrist Sally Satel stated, “It is past time to face the fact that altruism is just not enough. Many people need more of an incentive to give. And that's why we need to be able to compensate people who are willing to give a kidney to a stranger, to save a life.” Her idea ultimately shows that providing people with money for their organs will in turn persuade more people to “donate” and be coined as a “Good Samaritan donor” to achieve that ultimate goal (Knox, 2008).
Some countries, like Spain, have a more practical approach with their opt-out system. With this system,...