Monday, June 04, 2007

Kidneys and Dutch


A very good post on the Econoclaste blog about human organs market written in reaction to the the recent Dutch "search for a donor" fake reality show. It basically sums up two other intersting pieces, one written by the Freakonomics authors and published in NY Times, Flesh Trade: Why Not Let People Sell Their Organs? and the other published by The Economist journal, Psst, wanna buy a kidney?.

Bottom line, it's about a "basic supply-and-demand gap with tragic consequences". While there is an increasing demand of human organs donors, the sole incentive for the suppliers (especially living ones) is altruism since financially based organ trade is forbidden by the law basically everywhere in the Western world, not in Iran however. It's rather interesting that people can freely sell their organs in that country but women cannot dissimulate the shape of their body from under the cloak they're wearing, but that's another issue. Selling organs raises some moral questions like merchandising the human body or that the most organ sellers would be poor while most buyers would be rich. In the same time merchandising human organs is already a common practice on the black market or in reward of a higher moral cause, altruism, and while poor people might find more financial incentives in selling their organs they could also be more in need of a transplant since they have more difficulties in paying themselves a good health insurance. Which leaves us with the repugnance argument which I understand. In the meantime selling sperm, selling eggs and even "renting a womb" are practices no longer considered repugnant. While abortion supporters brought up the argument of freely disposing of one's body, how else can one interpret selling organs for a transplant? So I'll go for repugnance, not morality, but this will soon change along with the society.