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The Kidney Shortage Problem Essay

1916 words - 8 pages

1 Introduction

In 1954, the first organ transplant was conducted successfully in the United States. (Clemmons, 2009) Nowadays, the technology of organ transplant has greatly advanced and operations are carried out every day around the world. According to current system, organ sales are strictly prohibited in the United States. (Clemmons, 2009) However, the donor waiting list in the United States has doubled in the last decade and the average waiting time for a kidney is also increasing. (Clemmons, 2009) In the year 2007, over 70,000 patients were on the waiting list for a kidney and nearly 4500 of them died during the waiting period. In contrast to the increasing demand for kidney, organ donation has been in a decrease. (Wolfe, Merion, Roys, & Port, 2009) Even the government puts in great effot to increase donation incentives, the gap between supply and demand of organs still widens. In addition, the technology of therapeutic cloning is still not mature and many obstacles are met by scientists. (Clemmons, 2009) Hence, it is clear that a government regulated kidney market with clear legislation and quality control is the best solution to solve the kidney shortage problem since it improves the lives of both vendors and patients.

2 Arguments against kidney sales

2.1 Exploitation of the poor
Critics of kidney sales argue that impoverished people are more likely to sell their organs than the rich. (Matas, 2004) They claim that the practice of kidney sales is injustice since vulnerable vendors are targeted and that they may suffer from lengthy health problems after the operations which may eventually lead to the loss of jobs. (Bramstedt, 2010)

2.2 Commodification of human organs
The second argument against kidney sales in all forms is that “organ donations are meant to be gifts”. (Bramstedt, 2010, p.292) Therefore, if organs are bought and sold and marked with prices, they will be commercialized. (Bramstedt, 2010) Hence, there is acerbic debate on whether commercialization of body parts is ethical and against human dignity.

3 Supporting arguments for a regulated kidney market

Despite the oppositions against kidney sales, I will provide reasons in the following part why unlike the kidney black market, a government regulated kidney market is ethical and beneficial to the well beings of human beings.

3.1 Improvement of lives of both vendors and patients by careful screening and legislation
The establishment of a regulated kidney market is no doubt welcomed by patients with kidney disease. According to a self-administered survey by Herold, 78.5% of participants with renal disease are willing to pay for a kidney (2010). In addition, people are also willing to pay a high amount for a kidney, believing that the quality will be ensured. (Herold, 2010) Although dialysis is an alternative to kidney transplantation for patients, it costs approximately $50,000 per year and has to be carried out a couple of times per week. (Matas &...

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