Black market of organ transplant should be abolished and replaced

Categories: Organ Transplant

Black market of organ transplant should be abolished and replaced with legal markets. Recent developments in the world of modern medicine has signified how significant organ transplant is saving numerous lives of people across the world considering how doctors are able to transplant organs to replace parts of malfunctioning body. Despite the crucial role that organ transplant plays in saving lives of people certain challenges have cropped up, shortage problems have manifested itself in this field of activity because organs are inadequate to meet the ever-increasing demand of such.

It is worth noting that buying and selling of organs in most parts of the world is illegal, shortages have created opportunities that have led to creation of black market aiming at bridging the ever-increasing demand gap of organs in the market.

Notably, creation of black markets have been necessitated by cartels originating from developed countries who act as middlemen to connect rich patients with poor people whose organs are sold to help rich patients from developed countries.

Studies have established that the most affected organ is kidney, however, other body organs are gaining popularity and black market operators have ventured into trading on other parts of the body to generate more revenue to their flourishing black market businesses (Goodwin, 2006). The paper therefore examines the importance of legalizing black markets for organ transplants through well a well-coordinated system to help in meeting the demand for organs and alleviate shortages currently witnessed in many parts of the world. It has been established that once a well-coordinated system is installed opportunities of corruption and exploitation by the middlemen will reduce and business would run smoothly with intention of saving lives and improving lifestyle of the donors (Goodwin, 2006).

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Background Information

Organ transplant is the process of shifting and moving an organ from one individual’s body to another person with the intention of replacing an absent or malfunctioned organ (Caplan et al, 2015). In cases that an organ of an individual has failed due to various reasons, organ transplant will instrumental in restoring the body functions of such an individual because treatment may not yield much needed results. The procedure that a patient would undergo includes removing the specific organ from a donor then transferring and installing the same organ in place of the malfunctioned one. “When transplants are conducted by living tissues then risks are minimized and can only be realized through rigorous selection procedures, careful surgical nephrectomy and follow up of the donor to ensure the optimal management of untoward consequences” Caplan et al (2015)

An organization called Transplantation Society came up with consensus prepared in a forum of over 100 experts from countries across the world. The consensus and recommendations affirmed the need for establishment of transplant centers that will be charged with responsibilities of ensuring ethical practice during organ transplant procedures (Caplan et al, 2015). Sentiments from the forum acknowledged the risks of exploitation that accompanied the illegal practice and therefore member states were urged to spear head initiatives to curb selling and buying of body organs illegally. The demand for organs exceeds the available supply and this has created black markets in order to meet the ever-increasing demands for kidneys and other body organs (Goodwin, 2006). Statistics have confirmed that in Western Europe alone, about 40,000 patients are in dire need of kidney transplants, in this case only a few patients will be able to get the transplant needed for survival leaving majority of the patients to suffer (Caplan et al, 2015). In regards to this, most people are likely to die before receiving the transplant that carries with it survival, the number of people dying from this is about 15 patients per day. Medical professionals have opined that organs provided by living individuals are far much better than those provided by deceased persons, this is because during death blood flow is disrupted and in most cases, such organs are damaged due to lack of blood flow to nourish the organs (Caplan et al, 2015).

Surveys have established that across the world many countries have illegalized and prohibited buying and selling of human organs with United States National Organ Transplantation Act prohibiting sale of organs by both living and deceased persons (Goodwin, 2006). Many countries have followed suit to prohibit organ trading which is illegal and attracts serious punishment for offenders but this has not helped as individual are trading underground without the knowledge of authorities. Despite prohibition of the trade, demand for organs has tremendously increased with the intention of saving lives of needy patients and improving lifestyle of the poor sellers.

Arguments and Analysis

Black market for organ transplants exists in most parts of the world and the problem has been necessitated by the increasing demand for organs, this has seen many people travel to other countries that have not enforced stringent laws to curb body organs trade. For instance, members of an international syndicate were arrested in South Africa that brought on board poor Brazilians who were lured to donate and sell their kidney to rich patients from Israel (Caplan et al, 2015). Black market has seen the initiation of projects and organizations that monitor the illegal; trade to establish the human rights violations that accompanies the activities (Goodwin, 2006). These projects have been helpful since they have unearthed routes and places where transactions are conducted with Schepper-Hunges, a human rights activist establishing that wealthy patients are involved in exploitations of poor donors in exchange of money that is often mismanaged by brokers and middlemen (Caplan et al, 2015).

Studies have established that approximately 80% of poor individuals who have donated their organs to international black market syndicate have ended up experiencing serious medical disorders (Caplan et al, 2015). This is hugely blamed on inappropriate procedures that is often conducted by unqualified medical specialists, in most cases such procedures are money driven and thus do not observe ethical practice. Moreover, clear evidence has outlined how poor donors are often underpaid compared to market value of such organs and allegations have surfaced on how unscrupulous doctors are profit driven when undertaking such procedures (Goodwin, 2006). Since organ transplant black market and international syndicate is here to stay, there is need to legalize such activities through well-coordinated systems that will ensure that poor donors are not exploited through low payments and that strict observance of medical procedures and patient rights are enforced.

Philosophers and economists have supported legalization and creation of markets for organ transplants and their view is that such markets will help eliminate shortages and save lives (Goodwin, 2006). This is supported by the assertion that individuals may shy away from donating kidneys for free but will easily donate when such an arrangement is accompanied by payment in monetary terms. Supporters of organ transplant markets have outlined that creation of such markets will save hundreds of thousands of lives annually and will help make the poor richer; they also believe that making markets illegal is literally destroying lives of people (Goodwin, 2006). Human rights activists and medical professionals have raised alarms on how such markets may be accompanied by undesirable exploitative features touching on human rights; proponents of markets have affirmed that such problems may be eliminated through design of regulated markets (Goodwin, 2006).

A scenario has been fronted by the debate, many believe that legalization of organ transplant markets will increase the price for such organs that will also see rich individual buy, in response others have highlighted how many poor people across the world cannot even afford to buy food and therefore legalization will serve purpose on both ends through subsidizing the price with food. Others also object that the poor will be exploited by the rich; this is not a strong ground to forbid sale of organ transplant since it only means that only individuals who are sufficiently rich will be allowed to sell and organs. Consequently, human rights crusaders have objected the idea by arguing that people would rush to sell their kidneys without full knowledge of the risks involved, this will be solved by enforcing stringent measures to ensure that kidney sellers are licensed (Goodwin, 2006).

In light of meeting shortages currently witnessed, a legal regulated system for buying and selling of human organs will be useful in allowing people in need of organ transplant to easily get by paying healthy and willing donors for the supply of human organs. This will increase supply and thereby eradicate black market that has been blamed for all the negative assertions associated with organ transplant. A well-coordinated system should ensure that individual donors are safeguarded from exploitation as well as ensuring justice and equity in procedures involving sale of organs to other people. The system should integrate a government-based agency to spearhead the activities and penalties should be well defined to prevent abuse and exploitation of the poor in community. Legalization of the trade would effectively increase supply of organs to save human lives and in the process, eliminate unlawful and bad business practices characterized by black markets that have led to loss of organs.

Good practices will ensure that donors are appropriately compensated for their organs and thereby reducing implications of black markets that have consistently rewarded doctors and brokers in the syndicate at the expense of the donor who are often offered small amount of money in exchange for the organs. In the proposed system of coordinated actions, donation will heavily depend on voluntary actions and donor will be compensated in kind including medical professional advice involved in the procedures. Moreover, this system will benefit both buyers and seller as sellers will be compensated in monetary terms while buyers will receive the organs through a well-protected process for instance, any organ transplant operation will be undertaken in consideration to valuable hours on machine and equipment. People will also have to make reasonable decisions on when to sell their organs for transplant and thus will eliminate coercion that is evident in black market where people are forced to sell their organs (Strumwasser, 2015).

Donors will also be educated and enlightened on how organ donation and selling actually save lives and not primarily for monetary gain, this will instill a sense of responsibility to individual compared to when such procedures are done underground without knowledge of family members and authorities. Human rights activists have feared that legalizing of organ transplant market will be associated with unforeseen health risks, however, it has been established that illegality of the procedures have more health risks than when the market is legalized because activities are done underground in uncontrolled environments (Goodwin, 2006).

Legalizing organ transplant markets has been supported on the grounds of medical social justice that demands that patients are accorded the medical and health services that they require (Caplan et al, 2015). Regarding this, patients in need of organ transplant should not be allowed to die for lack of organs that can be accessed from donors despite many criticizing the efforts that the perspectives is based on purely economic and rational terms. Legalizing the markets would make more economic sense; existing black markets will ensure that people continue to sell their organs despite the illegality surrounding the practice and it is better to subject the practice to regulation where donors will be appropriately compensated.

Caplan et al (2015) opines that social justice in organ transplant will create equal opportunity to tap into the system of organ transplant markets which is just one component of distributive justice surrounding organ allocation. Making organ transplant market legal will improve on access considering how medical practice is constrained with resources especially vital organs of the body. Rational planners believe that open and regulated market for human organs is fundamental in achieving social justice because certain individuals can easily donate based on awareness created on importance of saving lives. Basic principle surrounding justice implies that individual cases should be treated in similar manner through maximizing utility of donated organs through a legalized environment that should not be overlooked.


Discussions above has shown how black market organ transplant is on the rise with the Guardian reporting that one organ is sold every hour somewhere in the world courtesy of black market syndicates existing (Caplan et al, 2015). China media recently reported that young men are selling their kidneys for about 5,000 dollars in Hangzhou and that organ trafficking is a reality that cannot be overlooked in its current state (Caplan et al, 2015). Kidney is the most common organ affected in organ transplant and most of illegal activities have revolved around selling and buying of organs from living donors to alleviate poverty, however they often receive less than was promised by brokers.

Medical professionals have cautioned that vendors of organs are often breadwinners of their families who are impacted negatively after donating organs since it inflicts physical and mental stress that disables them from future work, they face stigma and their lives are full of regrets why they decided to sell their organs. Purchasing of transplants across borders has been associated with higher risks of medical complications; significantly infections such as HIV and Hepatitis B have been on the rise with studies demonstrating such risk in Saudi Arabia and United States (Caplan et al, 2015). China has been blamed for the existence of black markets because of its use of organs from executed prisoners that has promoted a highly lucrative industry in which foreign patients pay for organ transplants.

It is recommended that countries must take responsibility in meeting and sustaining their organ transplants through developing legalized and regulated markets for organ transplant and thus eradicating black markets existing. Such responsibilities involve developing better systems for handling deceased organ donation, encouraging live organ donation, preventing need for transplant through treating diseases likely to cause organ failures and implementing laws that prohibit organ trading and trafficking (Caplan et al, 2015). Australia is one country that has realized remarkable progress in reducing organ transplant and trafficking through focusing on health and wellness of the citizens and discouraging the country from involving in black market organ transplant. The county has effectively addressed extreme poverty through their poverty eradication program, it has been established that poverty pushes individual to sell their body organs in black markets.


The study has established that black market for organs exists because the demand outplay supply and the market exists because poor poverty stricken people are lured to sell their organs to fend for themselves usually at a price that is lower than market value. Solution to this problem is legalizing the market through well-coordinated efforts; this will prevent abuse and exploitation that currently is seen on black markets (Caplan et al, 2015). Legal markets will make organs available to those who need and the donors will be appropriately compensated for their organs taking into account the risk involved in legal setting. Countries across the world should therefore initiate leadership roles in curbing black market by adhering to recommendations fronted above.

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Black market of organ transplant should be abolished and replaced. (2019, Dec 04). Retrieved from

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