Friday, February 07, 2014

Young male kidney donor into "chain" makes case for paying organ donors

There is an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal Thursday by Dimitri Linde, p. A17, “If I give away a kidney, would you sell one?”, link here.

The writer describes his experience of actually donating a kidney into a “donor chain” while in his 20s, and says that the other kidney will grow to 80% of the function of two of them.
He makes a moral case for the argument that paid organ donations should be allowed.
He also mentions the policy “No give, no take” in Israel, as explained on the site “Marginal Revolution” here.   

People can get in line for kidney transplants based on their having signed a donor card of record in the past, or a near relative having done so.  The longer on the list, the better the chance of priority.

Back in the early 1980s, before AIDS was known, there were calls for people to become superdonors and sign up for marrow donations.  People also earned money by selling plasma. 
Of course, we all know about the exclusion of MSM, that is, any man who has had sex with another man since 1977, regardless of HIV status.  It sounds likely that eventually the FDA will change the policy and reduce the period of abstinence greatly, maybe to something like six months, along with negative tests.  It would be good to review the organ donation policy for MSM, too. In Russia, the blood issue has become another kind of fuel for anti-gay sentiment, as if there were an intrinsic obligation of people to share their body parts for others. 
That’s something that has never sit well with my own sensitivities, the idea that I “owe” others use of my “spare” body parts while still living (or even post mortem).  This was not a visible idea when I was growing up.  There was an episode in 1978, when I was living in New York, when this subject came up (more details some other time).   I did give blood regularly until the ban was implemented in 1983.  Not since.  And I don’t have an organ donor card for this reason.

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