What is currently going on in the world as far as organ trafficking is concerned?

wiseGEEK Writing Contest

The topic of human organ trafficking is gaining more global recognition as the horror stories become more horrific and the death toll rises of those "thousands who die needlessly" (Korobkin). There are two different views on the matter - advocating the legal selling of human organs, or challenging it. Many different valid points have been made on either side of the argument of this controversial topic, however. Although "selling organs for a profit is illegal" (Vine), it could very possibly save the life of a person in need of a liver or a kidney. The selling of these organs causes much discussion, much sorrow and much conflict. Those in favor of organ traffickign believe that the selling of organs from a dead or a live person will help to save thousands of lives, while also reducing the costs of medical bills. If not made legal, it will continue to happen illegally anyway. Those opposed to organ trafficking believe that it causes too big of a risk. The donor can suffer physically if selling an organ while still alive, and can also suffer monetarily by taking care of one debt, but quickly falling "again in debt within a short period of time" (Edwards). A benefit to the legalizing of organ trafficking is that those that give up their organs will be paid, often a large sum of money for their organ. The number of organ donors will greatly increase if the possibility of getting paid arises. Especially among the lower class. If not paid directly, they will indirectly receive payments for their donation through having "part or all of [their] burial expenses" (du Pont) paid off. This is especially beneficial to "lower-income people" (du Pont) that cannot afford to pay for it themselves. Other possibilities include "$20 off drivers' license renewal fees" (Korobkin) just for the agreement to have organs taken out after death. If these organs then turn out to be healthy and useable, the family could then "be paid a few thousand dollars" (Korobkin). Nobel Prize - winning economist, Gary Becker, claims that paying a donor to give up an organ will "increase the supply of kidneys by almost 20 percent and livers by 60 percent" (Shelton). The main problem is the lack of willing donors, the lack of organs, and the lack of time. Giving these people money, or a reward for saving another life, would help "alleviate [the] organ-shortage problem" (du Pont), and save thousands of lives. Despite these financial benefits of selling organs, there are other financial problems that accompany this sale. In many poor countries where debt and poverty is an all-too-familiar story, selling an organ "on the black market" (Edwards) seems a good escape - the only escape - from debt. However, in most cases, the poor organ seller "not only [does] not benefit, but actually [seems] to be harmed [from] the sale" (Edwards). "As with the case of India's Kuman, making only 12 pounds a month, this poor man wasa in debt two and a half years worth of his salary. His only apparent help from this debt was the 410 pounds he received from selling one of his kidneys. The cash barely covered his debt, but sadly he now owed more, (Vine). How horrible. Another benefit in the sale of human organs is the fact that if the organ donation process is not encouraged and more transplantations do not occur, more and more people will continue to wither away on their hospital beds. While "misguided government policy" (Korobkin) brands the sale of organs illegal, "thousands [of hopeless people] die every year waiting for transplants" (Korobkin). As for now, those dealing on the black market have the right idea. Every year "seven percent of kidney patients die waiting for a transplant" (Shelton). That is seven of every one hundred people needing a kidney. Dead. Also, "about 4,000 of the 55,560 patients currently on the transplant waiting list" (Gawande) will die. If the sale of organs were to be legalized, far fewer patients would die because of the greater willingness from people to sell their organs than to just donate them. Although there are people that generously give an organ to a person that need it more, most other people would typically need a little motivation - in the form of money. Another hindrance of the organ trafficking is the fact that "the poor sell their organs but then suffer ill health effects" (Korobkin). The poor that sell their organs for monetary purposes usually have a hard time going back to whatever job they might have. Surgery takes a while to recover from, and it can cause someone to miss weeks of work, thus putting that person back into the debt they lost a kidney to get themselves out of. An "organ seller" (Gawande) often struggles through making the "decision of taking the debt, or the lack of an organ" (Gawande), which results half the time in "persistent pain in the area of the scar" (Edwards). The question is then asked, "Keep my organs intact, or keep my debt?" Going with the latter sounds a little more appealing. The organ trafficking issue will continue to be debated over for a long time. As long as the poor have debts to pay off, the debate will continue to rage. As long as people keep dying in their hospital beds the debate will continue to rage. And as long as people continue to think "it's much easier just to ignore the issue" (Korobkin), the issue will surely continue to rage.

submitted by Bryan Dwiggins