Organ donation is a critical topic that has recently sparked heated controversy. The crucial argument at first was whether it was ethical to donate or accept donor organs. However, as the procedure became more widespread, the method of giving and collecting organs came to the fore. A large number of individuals on waiting lists in the United States of America and other countries has prompted additional and similarly important discussions about whether or not organ donors should be paid in order to encourage prospective organ donors to donate their organs. Based on an objective view of evidence against and for compensation, organ donation should not only be based on altruism. Payment should be allowed.
The first reason for allowing donors to chose whether or not to be compensated is to encourage people to donate and therefore reduce the supply and demand gap between the organs. According to the article by Gary Becker and Julio Elias, Altruism should not be the sole basis of organ donation because the lack of motivation rather than selflessness leads to a shortage that causes people to die while still on the long waiting lists. According to the authors, people have to wait more than four years on average to get their transplants because people are not willing to donate in the current situation. The authors say that in 2012 alone, about 4500 people who were on the waiting list died due to complications that arise from waiting for kidney donations. Also, people who received dialysis survived for significantly shorter periods as compared to those that accept donations. According to the authors, beneficiaries of kidney donations survive for an average of 23 years (Becker and Julio 223). However, people on dialysis survive for an average of eight years only. Sally Satel gave a first-hand account of the experience of waiting (Satel). According to the author, even though altruism is very important in organ donation, recipients should not be prevented from paying willing donors if it will motivate them to donate. She explained that waiting brings pain and uncertainty that can be avoided by allowing different forms of compensation. Therefore, it is clear that the current policies on organ donation that are based on altruism are not working. The long wait leads to avoidable deaths that may be prevented by allowing people to motivate donors to donate by selling their organs.
Also, the long waiting times that may be prevented by offering incentives to save the costs of treatment. According to the analysis of Gary Becker and Julio Elias, it is costlier to wait for transplants while performing dialysis and other associated treatments than paying a donor to give their kidney or any other body part. Kidney transplants cost about 150,000 dollars and give a long-lasting solution as compared to the dialyses treatments that people who opt otherwise or wait for operations (Becker and Julio 223). The authors found that performing dialysis for the four years while waiting for kidney transplants costs about 350,000 in the United States of America. Paying a donor for their kidneys or other body parts in their lives or after death will reduce the need to spend on dialysis as the waiting lines will be shorter than they are currently. Therefore, it is clear that changing the policies to one that allows recipients to compensate donors will not only encourage people to donate more than they are now but also save the costs that are associated with waiting while going for dialysis. Therefore, donors should be allowed to fetch compensation.
Another reason for allowing compensation is the fact that payment is used in other medical aspects that include volunteering and are just as risky as organ donation. Compensation is granted for acts such as surrogacy. The United States of America allows the market to determine the rates of compensation for surrogacy (Becker and Julio 223). The payment for the surrogate mothers is about 20,000 dollars. The compensation encourages people to volunteer. Therefore, if it is acceptable for compensation to be allowed in surrogacy, it should also be permitted for organ donation.
The people that oppose the payment of organ donors base their arguments on the subjective idea that it is immoral because it puts prices on the organs of people. One of the groups against the payment of donors is the National Kidney Foundation. National Kidney Foundation argues that payment dilutes the altruistic nature of people and may cause tensions after the death of donors (Nationa Kidney Foundation). However, the fact is that dependence of altruism denies donors the potential gains that they may have from their sacrifices and also causes the current shortage of organs for donation.
In conclusion, currently, people who need organs depend on the altruism of donors to get organs. However, altruism has shown to be insufficient in filling the current game in the demand and supply for organs. Therefore, it is essential that policies should be changed to allow for compensation of the donors. Compensation will motivate people to donate and at the same time gain from their donations. Also, the waiting time for patients in need of organs will reduce leading to more lives being saved.
Becker, Gary S., and Julio J. Elias. “Cash for kidneys: the case for a market for organs.” P. 222-224
Nationa Kidney Foundation. “Financial Incentives for Organ Donation.” n.d. 220-221.
Satel, Sally. “When Altruism isn’t Moral .” n.d. 225-226.