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 Health is Wealth
Encourage free market in body parts
Edmonton Journal, United States Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Jurgen de Wispelaere, a medical ethics researcher from the Universite de Montreal suggested that tax credits be used to encourage organ donation. Let's forget about it and think of having a free market in body organs. Some might find the whole idea repulsive, but how right is it to impose ones ethical positions on others? Why should voluntary actions of individuals be stopped?, writes Bruce Korol in Edmonton Journal.

Procuring transplantable organs from donors in a country that is always facing a shortage is a constant challenge and it's clear the problem requires another way of thinking.

... ...

Jurgen de Wispelaere, a medical ethics researcher from the Universite de Montreal, recently suggested that tax credits be used to encourage organ donation. In his paper, de Wispelaere proposed the government create an incentive by providing a tax benefit to a second consenter for signing up to be a living advocate.

Forget about this and other slim government incentives to coax potential donors and let's open up what many would reflexively find repulsive: a free market in body organs.

Right now it is illegal to buy and sell organs in Canada.


Though donations have actually increased and provinces have tried to improve organ donation by raising awareness and reimbursing living donors for expenses, shortages persist.

... ...

A shortage and a resulting black market naturally develop when the government prohibits an activity. Economists will tell you the purchase and sale of organs will increase organ donations and alleviate shortages.

In an open market, explains economist Gary Becker, the prices of organs for transplants would settle at levels that would eliminate the excess demand for each type of organ.


Living donors could contract with those who need a transplant or an individual could sell the right to harvest their organs after they have died. The altruistically-minded can still donate their organs for free whether they're alive or dead.

... ... ...

If there's a recipient who wants to pay for an organ and a living donor who is willing to sell their organ why prevent it? Is it ethical to play God and forcefully condemn donors to poverty and potential recipients to death?

A person's autonomy should be respected. It doesn't matter whether the donation is motivated by charity, financial desperation or unmitigated greed and whether the selling of organs offend the moral sensibilities of the religious, medical or Canadian community, organ donation is a personal choice.



This article was published in the Edmonton Journal on Wednesday, August 18, 2010. Please read the original article here.
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