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

Should organ donors be paid?

The second article featured in this newsletter, “Should Organ Donors Be Paid?” allows members of the University of Chicago’s faculty to weigh in on the debate for organ sales. Business professor, Gary Becker, believes that only the government has enough authority to establish a regulated system to buy and distribute organs. He estimates the cost to be $15,000 for a kidney and $35,000 for a liver, which should not add significantly to the cost of transplants. Law professor, Richard Epstein, believes the payments could change the doctor-patient relationship and attract a riskier group. Transplant surgeon, Dr. Thistlethwaite, opposes any system because it would be exploitative of the poor. Opinions are clearly divided, with Epstein claiming, “ethics demands the US try a market system” and Thistlethwaite countering that “the ethical justification for doing this to people doesn’t exist.” The final voice, Janet Rowley, a member of the President’s Council on Bioethics, does not believe the system is likely to be developed soon unless “the list gets so big that it’s politically effective, or if someone who’s a big name dies” waiting for a transplant.