Organ Transplants

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In at least 250 words and using at least one properly listed reference: 2. Several biomedical issues, such as cloning, harvesting embryos, in vitro fertilization, stem cells, and transplants are major health care and research issues. What are some arising ethical dilemmas and developing initiatives to promote patient safety and maintain confidentiality? OR 2A. What are some ethical dilemmas in selling organs and organ donation? 

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There are a number of ethical dilemmas with regard to the issue of organ donation and selling of organs.  Let us look at a few.

The biggest ethical issue is one that touches both on organ donation and the selling of organs.  This is the issue of who should get the organs that are donated/sold.  More people need transplants than there are available organs.  This leads us to have to ration the organs that are available.  How should we do this?  In a market economy, we ration most things on the basis of who can afford them.  Should we do this with organs so that the rich will be more likely to get organs than the poor?  Should we somehow try to ration them on the basis of who will get more benefit from them?  In that case, we would give them to younger people and let older people die.  Should we ration them on the basis of who will benefit society more?  In that case, we would give them to educated people with good jobs and deny them to people who do menial jobs.  Or we might give them to people with happy families and deny them to those who would have no one to mourn them if they died.  This is the most important ethical issue connected to these topics.

A second issue is the issue of whether people should be compelled to donate organs.  In the US, at least, we have relatively few people signing up to donate organs.  This means that many people die with organs that could be donated but are not.  Since they are already dead, it seems plausible to say that the government should be able to commandeer the organs that they no longer need.  But is this something the government should be allowed to do or is it a grave infringement on human rights?

Finally, should people (and their families) be allowed to sell organs?  If we allowed people to sell the organs of their deceased relatives, it seems likely that there would be many more organs made available.  Wouldn’t this be a good thing for our society?  On the other hand, we can say that this would lead to a situation in which only those who could pay for organs would get them.  This refers back to the first ethical issue.

Thus, there are important ethical issues connected to the topics of organ donation and organ sales. 

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