Saturday, February 07, 2009

How much for a kidney?

"The woeful inadequacy of our nation’s transplant policy is due to its reliance on 'altruism.' According to the guiding narrative of the transplant establishment, organs should be a 'gift of life,' an act of selfless generosity. It’s a beautiful sentiment, no question. In fact, I, myself, am a poster girl for altruism. In 2006, I received a kidney from a (formerly) casual friend who heard secondhand about my need for a transplant. In her act, there was everything for me to gain, and, frankly, not much for her. My glorious donor was moved by empathy and altruism as purely as anyone could ever be.

Yet, it is lethally obvious that altruism is not a valid basis for transplant policy. If we keep thinking of organs solely as gifts, there will never be enough of them. We need to encourage more living and posthumous donation through rewards, say, tax credits or lifetime health insurance."

More on organ markets from Sally Satel here.

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