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The Commercialization of Organ Transplants

The Commercialization of Organ Transplants

Imagine that you are a member of an ethics committee listening to arguments for and against altering the
way in which human organs are obtained for patients in need of transplants. A new policy to allow the
sale of organs by consenting individuals to patients in need and to medical institutions has been
proposed. Critics argue that permitting organs to be bought and sold is unethical. You have been asked
to review the arguments for and against the commercialization of organ transplants and to construct a
report with your suggested plan of action. Use the Internet or Strayer databases to search for arguments
for and against the commercialization of organ transplants, and then apply the principles learned in

Weeks 1-3 to formulate your report.
Write a three to four (3-4) page paper in which you:

  1. Briefly summarize the arguments for and against the commercialization of transplants that you

found in your research.

  1. Formulate your position on the debate of whether or not the sale of organs should be permitted.
  2. Defend your moral judgment with a moral argument. Identify the moral principle that you are

appealing to in your moral argument.

  1. Determine which normative theory best supports your conclusion.
  2. Use at least two (2) quality references. (Note: Wikipedia and other Websites do not qualify as

academic resources.)


Arguments against the Commercialization of Organ Transplants
One of the most common human organs that are transplanted is the kidney. In almost all
countries around the globe, there is a shortage of kidneys needed for patients. This is one reason
that has greatly contributed to the controversy of whether these much needed organs for
transplant can be commercialized. By commercializing these transplants, it will mean that for
profit system is being adapted. This is because donors will be profiting from donating their
organs. One of the arguments against the organ transplants is that the vendors will only do so
because they endure poverty to a very great extent such that they have no other choice but to sell
their organs (Mazaris et al., 2011). Thus, this argument implies that they are simply doing so
against their will, but because their circumstances force them. In other words, they view this as
exploitation of the poor.
Second, another argument is that the individuals tempted to sell are ignorant, and, thus,
do not have the competence needed to complete the transaction (Hoyer, 2006). This argument
has been based on the fact that individuals are simply selling because of the money, but they are
unaware of the other health risks they will be placing themselves in. Thus, commercializing this
will provide ground for people to aimlessly donate just so they can get money, while also risking
their lives. The third argument is that these sales are unjust as a result of the huge income gaps,
which ends up motivating individuals to sell organs. Most people who are hoping to be donors
do so because of the unfair treatment they experience everywhere because of how they cannot
afford almost everything expensive (Mazaris et al., 2011). Lastly, another argument against this

commercialization is that donations for free, can be acceptable, but sale of organs that is highly
motivated by greed for money is not.

Arguments for the Commercialization of Organ Transplants
Other groups and individuals have also presented arguments for the commercialization of
organ transplants. First, there is an argument that commercializing this trade of organs is
important as it presents a strictly regulated market, as compared to the illegal market where
donors are placed at risk (Hoyer, 2006). The legal market provides high treatment standards,
which are also ensured for all donors, thus these can be justly distributed. This argument
basically implies that commercializing this sale will do away with the unsafe procedures
commonly handled under poor medical standards. Therefore, individuals will not have to go to
these unsafe places whenever they need to sell organs, but instead they will go to safe places
such as hospitals as they will have nothing to hide from (Mazaris et al., 2011). Second, it will not
be considered unfair when organs are priced at the level of an annual average salary. This is
because every individual will be considered equal, thus creating an equally attractive option for
both the poor and rich. This is because illegal markets offer small amounts of money for donors,
while commercializing this sale legally will lead to a universal price that applies for people in all
social groups.
Third, with a strictly regulated market, many family members will feel saved from the
pressure applied upon them when they are expected to donate an organ for a relative. This is very
important because not all individuals feel comfortable donating, however, when a family
member gets ill and requires donations; they are frequently forced simply because they are
family (Hoyer, 2006). This is very unfair, and the situation can be salvaged by having organs to

purchase, instead of waiting for donations. Lastly, arguing for the commercialization of organ
transplants is also because some people make anonymous donations. This implies that some give
it from the bottom of their hearts and not only on family related situations or social grounds.
Therefore, if such incentives including social and altruistic motives are acceptable, then there is
no need to prohibit financial incentives.

Current Position on this Debate

Considering the arguments above, my position on it is that the commercialization of
organ transplants should be permitted. After analyzing the arguments above, I can now
understand where both arguments are coming from. Those against the commercialization base
their arguments on claims that this step will further lead to the unfair treatment of poor people
(Mazaris et al., 2011). Most of these people are uneducated, and will, therefore, not understand
the implications of their actions on their health. Since they really need the money, they will
simply offer their organs for any small amount to enable them survive a few more weeks. The
group of individuals who are for the idea base their arguments on the fact that illegal markets are
present and will keep on functioning, while risking the lives of donors as a result of poor medical
standards since they are hiding from the authorities. They also support the idea as the unfair
treatment will be reduced since a universal price will be set for organs (Hoyer, 2006). Thus,
everyone will find this option attractive as a result of the present conditions and incentives.
Lastly, it will cater for the limited supply of organs that lead to family members being pressured
into donating even though they are unwilling.

Support for my Argument

The reason why I support this judgment is that it will reduce most of the unethical
situations going around in the world. For example, by neglecting the commercialization of organ
transportations, illegal markets will be promoted. Such markets are usually characterized by
various illegal activities such as human trafficking, kidnappings, murder and many more.
Villains will try to make a point of ensuring that they misuse the people around them so that they
can benefit from the few cash offered after giving organs. This is wrong because everyone has
the right to make a choice of whether they will give out organs or not. By legalizing the idea,
such activities will be reduced drastically as individuals will prefer better treatment standards,
which will also offer better incentives in terms of cash. The moral principle being appealed to by
the above moral judgment is that it is right to let individuals make their own decisions on
whether to donate their organs or not, and it is wrong to pressure or force individuals to do the

Normative Theory that Supports the above Conclusion

The normative theory that best supports this theory is that of ethical relativism. This is
because there are no universal standards of what should qualify as right or wrong. Everything
depends on what each individual thinks of it. The conclusion above can be supported by this
theory in the sense that not everyone thinks that selling organs is wrong. However, people should
not be forced to do so as noted in the illegal markets. Thus, the best option is to let everyone
make his or her own choices by providing a fair, safe, and strictly regulated marketplace.



Hoyer, P. (2006). Commercial living non-related organ transplantation: a viewpoint from a
developed country. Pediatric Nephrology, 21(10), 1364-1368.
Mazaris, E. M., Crane, J. S., Warrens, A. N., Smith, G., Tekkis, P., & Papalois, V. E. (2011).
Attitudes toward live donor kidney transplantation and its commercialization. Clinical
Transplantation, 25(3), E312-E319.

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