Halachic Organ donor Society, 3926 W. Touhy Ave, Suite #365, Lincolnwood, IL, 60712-1028. Phone: 646-599-3895, Email: office@hods.org

Payment for donor kidneys: Pros and cons

This 2006 article argues for the establishment of a regulated system of kidney sales. This proposal comes in the wake of celebrity endorsements, public relations campaigns, and driver’s license organ donor registration which have failed to meet the increasing demand for organs. As a proponent of organs sales, Friedman argues, “The case for legalizing kidney purchase hinges on the key premise that individuals are entitled to control of their body parts even to the point of inducing risk of life.” This position is in direct opposition to medical association stances worldwide. In reality, black market organs sales are not uncommon in the developing world, allowing marketeers to take advantage of patients desperate for this life-saving procedure and donors living in poverty. To manage these increasing problems, Drs. Friedman propose the establishment of a fair market price, estimated to be about $40,000, to be paid by a federal agency working in collaboration with the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS). This agency would be self-sustaining and could reduce the long-term cost of managing end-stage renal disease by eliminating the need for costly and painful dialysis. The paper concludes with an acknowledgment that the development of another government agency, while not ideal, can reasonably deal with the ethical and medical challenges inherent in the present organ crisis.