The Kidney-Uterus Connection

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In an NPR interview, Dr. Amy Friedman, a transplant specialist from Yale University Hospital, worries about a rising black market in body parts, asks why she can rent out her uterus but not sell an organ, and (sheepishly) calls for a (heavily regulated) market in kidneys.

Listen here. More on Friedman's "exploitative" proposal here.

Via Cafe Hayek.

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  1. I want to know why my organs suddenly belong to the state when I die. Shouldn’t they be part of my estate?

    My heirs are allowed to sell my couch when I’m gone, why not my corneas?

  2. I have a cunning plan. Harvest the organs of all capital criminals and use them for transplants. Adjust what constitutes a “capital crime” as transplant demand increases.

    Sounds like a Larry Niven novel, doesn’t it? ­čÖé

  3. I’ve got an organ I’ve been trying to lease out for years…

  4. Providing proceeds from organ sales to one’s family (or to anyone else) would be the only from of monetary insurance many poor families would receive. There’s no reason this could not be an element of a “living will.”

  5. Would women be able to sell kidneys that they grow inside their wombs?

  6. What? Sheep kidneys? None for me thanks! Next you know it’s pig brains and goose livers.

  7. You gotta love the mentality of some of these people. A voluntary market in organs offends their sensibilities, but changing the law “so we had presumed consent we could meet need.” Asshole

  8. I would love to sell off my organs if I die. I would far prefer that to “donating” them.

  9. Haven’t we already been through all this? Hasn’t it been shown that there’s NO evidence whatsoever that an illegal ‘black-market’ organ market exists?

  10. I love the accepted wisdom on this one: It’s unethical and exploitive to allow people to control their own organs. Apparently, the poor suffer when they’re given property rights in something valuable. Right…

  11. Paul,
    Nobody said ‘illegal’. I, as the owner of a kidney, cannot sell said kidney on an open market. No open market means a grey market or a black market. What you actually have here is a grey market of something that is illegal on one end (I as the donor cannot sell a body part) but perfectly legal on the other end (a hospital can purchase a magic kidney that just so happened to appear). Somewhere in the middle folks make money but the original owner of the organ, well, has to be dead. Doesn’t seem like good economy to me.

  12. I’m old, as many of you know.
    What would the market be for a walk-thru–similar to a drive-thru carwash–for the purpose of efficiently disposing of our mortal remains?
    I’m thinking about a hundred dollars would be right for elimination, and I mean elimination.

    There would be no need for an expensive CSI. If you had paid the C-note, your intentions would be obvious.

  13. Paul–

    While the stories of people waking up in tubs of ice with a scar, a phone, and a note to call 911 are indeed urban legends, to believe there is no black market in organs is silly.

  14. While the stories of people waking up in tubs of ice with a scar, a phone, and a note to call 911 are indeed urban legends

    Not so! I know this guy who swears that his former roommate’s neighbor knew a guy that this happened to!

    Seriously, though, a college roommate insisted that he knew somebody who knew somebody who bought a cookie recipe for $250.

  15. Seriously, though, a college roommate insisted that he knew somebody who knew somebody who bought a cookie recipe for $250.

    Must be pretty well off if he’s slinging that dough around. Was he a millionaire ex-official of Nigerian government? Or did he win a special prize from Bill Gates in exchange for helping to beta-test Microsoft’s new forwarded-email-tracking software?

  16. They’re already buying and selling human organs in the U.K. (well, stealing them and then paying after they get caught):

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/4457312.stm
    The NHS has agreed to pay more than (pounds)3.6m in damages to the families of deceased patients whose organs were removed without consent.

    The NHS Litigation Authority said the sum would now be paid to solicitors to be shared amongst over 1,270 claimants.
    The NHS is also to pay just under (pounds)1.7 million, plus VAT, towards the claimants’ legal costs.

    It’s too bad the thieves won’t get any jail time and that taxpayers are covering their costs.

  17. Is there anything more yucky than internal organs?

    I can’t wait for the great age of robotics to begin.

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