Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Thoughts On Selling Organs

A comment I posted on orgtheory.net, "organ markets" by Fabio Rojas:
There are additional organ donation concerns in a market price system.

The market will price discriminate based on the expected quality of the organs donated. Additionally, with rights come responsibilities.

Better quality organs will sell for more than poorer quality organs. Much of health correlates with higher socio-economic status, such as richer and more educated. There are also genetic components to quality and healthfulness and these probably align themselves along racial. national origin, religion, and conspicuous physical traits like eye color, etc. Younger organs will also sell for more than older organs.

Will we allow a teenager to sell organs for money? To pay for college? Would we ever allow a parent to sell a child's organs? Always, never or only in exceptional cases?

If a fixed price is established, higher quality organs will be in short supply and poorer quality organs will be available in excess.

If the market determines the price, will society accept that the lower socio-economic groups (which in the US contains a disproportional number of Blacks) will be paid less than higher socio-economic groups (which in the US are disproportionately whites and Asians).

If we force all organs to sell for the same price, we are transferring the social harm of paying the poor less to the buyer and future user of the organ. A user of a donated organ is entitled to the best quality organ they can obtain for their money.

Once society establishes ownership and alienation rights to one's own organs, will society also simultaneously assign the legal obligation to the individual to be responsible for the quality of the organ they are donating or selling?

Just as automobile ownership requires regular inspection and pollution control equipment; will society require individuals to maintain their organs in good health? Will society require annual organ inspections and certifications of good maintenance? Are smokers and alcohol drinkers liable for the decreased usefulness of their organs?

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