Anorak News | Let’s Have a Cash Market in Kidneys: Trading In Human Organs Like The Sensible Iranians

Let’s Have a Cash Market in Kidneys: Trading In Human Organs Like The Sensible Iranians

by | 5th, August 2011

LETS have a cash market in kidneys. No, not the sort you devil for breakfast, but the human sort that get stitched into people.

Yes, really, we ought to start paying people who agree to give up a kidney so that someone else can live. That at least was the suggestion of one academic when writing in the BMJ.

Sue Rabbitt Roff believes making it legal to sell the body part would boost the number of organs available to save lives and help students struggling with money.

She argues that donors should be paid the average UK annual income of around £28,000.

It is currently illegal to sell organs and tissues in the UK under the Human Tissue Act (2004) and across the world apart from in Iran.

I, of course, fully support this idea: I should as I’m one of the originators of it. I wrote about it here, last year, which was picked up here and in the Sunday Herald….a Scottish newspaper and note that it’s a Scottish academic making the proposal.

There’s two parts to the argument: transplants are cheaper for the NHS than leaving people on dialysis. So, we want to increase the number of transplants. It’s also true that dialysis doesn’t keep working: eventually people die of their kidney failure however much dialysis you do. So again, we’d also like to replace dialysis with transplants.

The second argument is that no country actually has enough kidneys to transplant. It doesn’t matter what form of voluntary arrangement is used, opt in, opt out, presumed consent: there just aren’t enough people who die young enough, healthy enough and not from cancer to provide the number of organs needed.

Actually, that’s not quite true: one country does have enough. Iran. And Iran’s the only place you’re allowed to pay a live donor for a kidney. So, we’ve a problem, a known solution, the only question is why we’ve not adopted that known solution.

Sadly, the only conclusion I can come to is that we’re ruled by moral idiots. We’re told that to bring money into the equation would be unethical. The correct response to which is “Fuck off”.

You can, if you require a kidney, most certainly put your moral objections to filty lucre forward and thus die a painful and lingering death. What you don’t get to do is force your moral views on others so that they have to die painful and lingering deaths.

There’s round 1,000 people a year who die while waiting for a kidney. They could be saved if the government spent around £30 million a year on buying kidneys from live donors. The NHS would also save £200 and odd million on dialysis costs. Save money, save people, save lives, but we can’t do it because it’s unethical.


Posted: 5th, August 2011 | In: Money Comment | TrackBack | Permalink