This weeks BMJ has reopened a fresh debate on the issue of organ donation. The author advocates that a legitimate and regulated system for compensating organ donors will help in meeting the excessive demand for transplants and prevent exploitation of poor people.
The author who is an organ transplant surgeon by profession has opined that payments for live organ donation would cater to the urgent requirement for organs whilst remaining on the right side of the current ethical practice in healthcare. Author Amy Friedman, associate professor of surgery at Yale University School of Medicine in the USA points out that a majority of the Medical Research participants are driven by financial compulsions.
She also reiterates that "If it is reasonable, legal, and ethically justified to motivate someone using monetary reward to participate in human research, then by extension the same person should be allowed a monetary inducement or reward for donating an organ."
US laws permit the buying and selling of regenerative products such as human hair, blood semen and human eggs. They are now sought openly.
Potential medical and surgical harm can be avoided by proper supervision of a transplant process by a centralised, multi-disciplinary panel with responsibility for determining standardised criteria for donors and recipients as well as a uniform fee.
Presently kidneys are secretly transplanted in third world countries from poorer people to wealthier recipients, she says, with little evidence of the outcomes.
"Bringing these activities out of the closet, by introducing governmental supervision and funding will provide equity for the poor, who will get equal access to such transplants."