Ethical Issues in the selling of Human Organs

Organ transplanting is currently one of the most effective advances in the medical field. The procedure provides a way to save and prolong the lives of patients suffering from organ failures. However, in the recent past, the issue of ethics and morality involved in the process have raised numerous questions on the rightness or wrongness of the procedure in society (Savulescu 2003).  Ethical and moral concerns regarding the practice are in place because donors are required to give out vital organs from their bodies while some organ donations come from the deceased. More so, the rise in cases of vital organ failure due to factors like lifestyle has led to an increasing demand for healthy organs from donors. As a result, some donors and entrepreneurs opt to sell their organs for financial gain (Savulescu 2003).  While saving lives is a moral and humane call, the selling of human organs poses questions of morality and human dignity with regards to religion and societal values.

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            Firstly, the practice of organ transplanting saves lives, thus gives patients who suffer from organ failures a chance to reunite with their families, get relief from pain and resume to their normal lives. There is value to life thus every life is worth saving. Regardless of the causes of organ dysfunctions, patients who suffer from organ failures deserve a chance to live. Saving lives is a moral call thus considered both ethically and morally correct. According to the theory of utilitarianism, something is seen as ethically correct if it maximizes on good consequences for the majority of the society (Beauchamp, Bowie & Arnold 2004).  In this case, the benefits of selling vital organs in an attempt to save lives and reduce pain in patients with organ failures outweigh the moral concerns of the process.

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Secondly, the selling of vital organs may yield a certain degree of fulfillment for the donor. This implies that a donor who chooses to sell their organs in an attempt to help someone else is fulfilled by the act of kindness while at the same time solves their financial crisis or strains. This act is in line with the natural law theory, which states that an act can be ethically correct if it maximizes on human flourishing, regardless of set moral views (Beauchamp, Bowie & Arnold 2004).  In this case, the selling of organs is a choice that an individual can make to fulfill themselves through helping a fellow human being in need.

In contrast, the practice of economizing organ transplantation raises the question of human dignity. While the selling of vital human organs saves lives and promotes human flourishing, the sale of one’s organ to another person undermines human dignity. This argument is tied to Immanuel Kant’s views on organ transplantation where he argues that an individual’s organs are special and priceless aspects thus selling organs disregard the seller’s dignity as a human being (Abouna 2003). An action is thus considered ethically correct if it upholds the value of human dignity. In this case, it is wrong to sell one’s organs because it undermines an individual’s dignity by placing a price tag on the seller.

Another argument that opposes the practice of selling human organs is the question of egoism. Selling one’s organs for financial gain is considered morally incorrect because it promotes self-interest and disregards the well-being of others. For instance, a patient whose life is at risk because of a failed organ may be limited by financial constrains from getting an organ transplant because they cannot afford to pay for it. Economizing organ transplantation is therefore, morally wrong because it promotes egoism. The practice is also unethical because it encourages self-importance rather that support the practice of altruism where people are morally obligated to help those in need (Beauchamp, Bowie & Arnold 2004).  

The ethical dilemmas presented by the practice of selling human organs touch on important aspects of ethical considerations. However, the arguments that propose the selling of organs are more compelling. This is because the issue of saving human lives is vital. Every human life is worth saving regardless of the moral concerns surrounding the approach used. An individual of sound mind and health who chooses to sell their organs in the attempt to help a fellow human being survive an organ failure values human life. In addition, it is human nature to value life even when it comes at a cost. Given the large gap between the demand and supply chains of human organs, many patients die because of a shortage of organ donations. As a result, relevant authorities should allow for organ markets to maximize on organ supply but also create regulations that will prevent unlawful markets which may endanger the lives of others.

In conclusion, organ transplanting is a medical advancement that helps to save lives and promote human worth (Abouna 2003). Economizing the practice has in the last decade raised ethical concerns of human dignity and morality, however, the consequences of selling organs in an attempt to help people with failed vital organs outweigh the moral concerns of the practice.

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