A Nickel for Your Kidney

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Two weeks ago, The Wall Street Journal reported on organ sales. Last year, about 4,400 patients died waiting for a kidney transplant. Demand for kidneys far exceeds supply, and there is currently a federal ban on the selling of organs. It's a heavily debated issue in the medical community, and doctors struggle to balance ethical concerns with practical solutions to a growing problem. On the one hand, organ sales would increase the supply of kidneys and save lives. On the other hand, it runs the risk of encouraging a black market that could exploit poor individuals. Check out this story in The Wall Street Journal. And in the meantime, tell us: are you willing to give up your kidney for compensation? And if you're waiting for a kidney, or if you've had a transplant, do you think the ban on organ sales should be lifted?



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Hi! I believe how wealthy you are depends on where you live. My husband is a Union operating engineer making over $100,000 a year and I am a financial assistant making $40,000 a year, and we are hardly rich or live richly. We have a very modest home, with the mortgage paid off, and a small home equity loan and still find ourselves having to continue to live modestly in order to put our son through college and live a comfortable retirement. I am not certain that I agree that we should be paying any more into the tax system and I am not a conservative Republican, but remember that we once had a surplus and find that our tax money has been spent in ways that I haven't supported.

Sent by Kimberly Kowalski | 2:18 PM | 11-26-2007

Hospitals and doctors already profit from a free organ donation - why not the donor?

Sent by Cal | 3:24 PM | 11-26-2007

Did anyone hear Dr. Francis Delmonico on the show? How about offering a decent argument instead of just attacking the other guy on the program.

Sent by Abe Stoll | 3:26 PM | 11-26-2007

I think it would be better for a couple of economists to debate if a controlled market would work instead of two doctors. Also, aren't black markets created when something is made illegal, not legal? Has there been any cases of controlled organ markets or have they always been open markets?

Sent by Alessandra (like Alice Sandra) | 3:27 PM | 11-26-2007

Let's start with something simple... why not make individual blood donations tax deductible? It seems a simple way to give people a positive incentive to do something good for others.

Sent by BD | 3:43 PM | 11-26-2007

Anyone who has lost a loved one who was awaiting a transplant, as I have, knows that the organ donation system in this counrty is not working.

I believe we need to consider ALL options including compensating donors and possibly even organ donation being almost manditory with the option to decline.

Sent by Holly | 3:45 PM | 11-26-2007

I don't think money is the problem. If people were more aware of the need, I think there would be plenty of donors. Donor risks are low and rewards high. Spend some time in a dialysis center talking to patients and you'll be ready to sign up for donation.

My then 25-year-old brother was diagnosed with renal failure last April and spent over a year on dialysis. This July I donated a kidney to him. Within a month we were both feeling great.

Sent by Steve | 3:46 PM | 11-26-2007

The question is not if someone should be paid or not for "donating" a kidney. There is a much larger problem, and that is that there is chronic nationwide shortage of donors for any solid organ transplant, heart, liver, lung, kidney, bowel etc. More needs to be done in the area of public awareness of what being a donor means, and how recipients can benefit. Perhaps the system should be changed from asking people if they want to opt in as a donor, and making the default that you are a donor unless you opt out, but if you opt out, you opt out of being a recipient too.

Sent by Geoff Hillary | 6:34 PM | 11-26-2007

Those people who are rich and think that they can buy whatever they want should have no right to play with innocent live poor lives and they should be given capital punishment. It really hurt me when I hear about such incident. These doctors should be forced to take way their kidneys and Transplant back to those poor people.

Sent by Singh | 12:46 PM | 2-4-2008

At first I wondered if only the wealthy would benefit, as they could pay for the kidney. Then I realized it could also help the poor, as the rich could now afford to screen a donor and purchase a "select" kidney, which could in fact leave more freely donated kidneys on the market. However I believe the donors would have to be carefully screened.

Also If someone dies why selling a Kidney there are going to be some hefty lawsuits.

Sent by kevin mac | 2:12 PM | 2-21-2008