Australia is witnessing an unprecedented increase in the purchase of human organs, especially from developing countries, rather than an indefinite wait for native donors.
Sick Australians are even ready to travel to China and Philippines to buy kidneys, although they have been warned of health risks. Ethical considerations should not be imposed upon people who are sick already according to Kidney Health Australia chief executive Anne Wilson. They will resort to whatever measure is available to them to get healed, although it might involve international trade of human organs.
When the promise of an organ goes awry because of the reluctance of relatives of the dead donor, the patient who had waited is cruelly let down. Facing this dilemma, a person can be hardly be blamed for doing an online search and settling for a kidney transplant which would cost somewhere between $15,000 and $70,000 in a Chinese hospital.
This is why Dr Shearmur, the deputy of the Australian National University's School of Philosophy, has called for the Federal Government to introduce a ''fully legalised, and also privately certified, program for the purchase of kidneys from healthy, voluntary live donors from poorer countries''.
With kidney and urinary tract failure being the 10th
most common cause of death, and yet only 6 per cent of those on dialysis having had a transplant, Australia must think seriously about how to address this issue.
As some experts feel this may be the appropriate time to consider a more binding form of consent where individual wishes are respected negating family prejudices, when it is time to decide what to do with their organs.