The New York Times 'Room for Debate'

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August 21, 2014

How Much for a Kidney?


To read all the contributions to the debate, visit The New York Times.


Cover the Costs for Kidney Donors to Increase the Supply

Alexander M. Capron and Francis L. Delmonico

"Three decades of experience around the world has shown that if human organs become commodities they will always be obtained from the poorest and most vulnerable in society. The consequences of such a market-driven program are now being rejected even by colleagues in Iran, which up to now has been the only country that enabled organ sales.

Rather than proposing plans for buying kidneys, let's use our collective ingenuity to devise policies that respect voluntary living donors and the families of deceased donors for their generous solidarity with patients in need."

Read the complete contribution here.

Paying Organ Donors Would Set Us Back

Rudolf Garcia Gallont

"In Latin America we have been studying what the U.S. and Europe have done to alleviate organ shortage. If the U.S. considers a trial on incentives and payment for living organ donation, it would have a profoundly damage our work to promote legitimate organ donation in the region over the last decade. Deceased donation programs are being built here with great effort. The erroneous idea that the donation of an organ can generate a financial gain has already led to serious incidents and damages the progress of legitimate organ donation in the region."

Read the complete contribution here.

Fix the System, Don’t Swap It for the Free Market

Jeremy Chapman

"Some people believe that human actions are only motivated by the mighty dollar. But they aren’t looking at the reality of the situation, in which fixes to the system could help solve the problems of access to transplantation better than commercialization...What devastating effects would commercialization of organ donation have on those who have worked so hard to deliver the best global practices? Do we really want to be able to tell the poor from the rich by counting the number of their kidneys?"

Read the complete contribution here.

Buying and Selling Organs Would Create an Economic Class War

Katrina A. Bramstedt

"The sellers, too, are likely the poor. After a kidney, what do they sell next? Any system of organ selling makes the poor the clinical treasure trove of the rich. Values and ethics can and do underpin society and medical practice so health care structures that operate purely on economics — letting the wealthiest patients win at the literal expense of the poor — are inappropriate."

Read the complete contribution here.

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