Financial Compensation for Organ Donation

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In the United States, there are over one hundred thousand people on the waiting list to receive a life-saving organ donation, yet only one out of four will ever receive that precious gift (Statistics & Facts, n.d.). The demand for organ donation has consistently exceeded supply, and the gap between the number of recipients on the waiting list and the number of donors has increased by 110% in the last ten years (O'Reilly, 2009). As a result, some propose radical new ideas to meet these demands, including the selling of human organs. Financial compensation for organs, which is illegal in the United States, is considered repugnant to many. The solution to this ethical dilemma isn’t found in a wallet; there are other alternatives available to increase the number of donated organs which would be morally and ethically acceptable. Iran, which has the world’s only regulated system for compensating a kidney donor, has practically eliminated the wait for kidney donation. While Iran’s numbers seem promising when compared to the wait list in the United States, their numbers are still questionable. First, Iran has an authoritarian government, which is widely distrusted in the global community; therefore, many do not trust the accuracy of the numbers which they report. Additionally, Iran has not produced any long-term follow-up information about the donors and the recipients. Despite the reported $3,500 - $5,700 that living donors received, seventy-nine percent of donors could not afford follow-up care. In addition, Dr. J. Richard Thistlethwaite, a transplant surgeon at the University of Chicago, states that “The stigma associated with selling your organs was so strong that 98% did not want to be identified as organ donors” (Stevens... ... middle of paper ... ...ations, other answers: In search of a solution to the organ shortage. Retrieved April 26, 2011, from American Medical News: http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2008/10/13/prsa1013.htm Statistics & Facts. (n.d.). Retrieved April 26, 2011, from U.S. Department of Health & Human Services: http://organdonor.gov/aboutStatsFacts.asp Stevens, S. (2007, July 30). Doctors, patients debate ways to increase organ donation. Retrieved April 24, 2011, from Daily Herald: http://www.donatelifeillinois.org/donatelife/news/DailyHerald07-30-07.pdf The State of the International Organ Trade. (2007, December). Retrieved April 24, 2011, from World Health Organization: http://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/8512/06-039370/en/#R43 Timeline of Historical Events. (n.d.). Retrieved April 26, 2011, from U.S. Department of Health & Human Services: http://organdonor.gov/legislationTimeline.asp

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