Organ transplants

Ninth Circuit Overturns the Ban on Compensation for Bone Marrow Donations (Mostly)

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The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals just ruled in favor of the Institute for Justice and the families on whose behalf a 2009 lawsuit was filed; offering compensation to bone marrow donors is no longer a felony. The logic is that if compensation is legal for plasma donors it should be legal for bone marrow donors, particularly considering the new method of acquiring marrow.

According to The Associated Press:

The court said the new technology isn't covered by the law because actual bone marrow isn't taken from the donor. Instead, specialized cells that grow into marrow are taken from a donor's bloodstream, and is basically a blood donation, not an organ transplant, the court said. It noted that two-thirds of bone marrow transplants employ the newer process.

Tens of thousands of people with leukemia, lymphoma and other blood diseases are saved each year by such procedures. An estimated three thousand others die waiting for donations, which unlike simple blood donations need to be genetically compatible, making matches especially difficult for African Americans.

The National Organ Transplant Act of 1984 remains. Buying and selling vital kidneys, hearts, and livers is stil very illegal. And absurdly, a third of people in need of bone marrow — those using the older, more invasive method of extraction — will still have the threat of felony charges hanging over them if they try to add an incentive to speed up this life-saving process. 

Still, it's a victory.

Check out IJ's press release on the decision here.

Reason on organ transplants and sales. Including the recent "Case for Legal Organ Sales" by Abby Wisse Schachter and a 2008 piece, "Bring on the Organ Market" by my dear old dad. 

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  1. I should have “donated” eggs in the late 90s when I was a coed. Back then the going rate was something around $10,000. Now it’s only $5,500.

    1. Selling eggs is very pain full and exploitative of women. Donating is pain free.

  2. Considering what I know about typical bone marrow transplants, my bone marrow for damn sure will not be leaving my body without some form of compensation.

    1. CA,
      Check the press-release. Turns out:

      “this pilot program will be perfectly legal, provided the donated cells are taken from a donor’s bloodstream rather than the hip. (Approximately 70 percent of all bone marrow donations are offered through the arm in a manner similar to donating whole blood.)”

      That good ‘ol invisible hand has made things much easier.

      1. Praise his name.

      2. I read it. A lot of people still need bone marrow the regular typical way. That is the way someone would need to pay me to do.

        1. No, they don’t need the bone marrow the regular typical way. With the old technique they take the bone marrow from your hip, siphon out the cells, and put them in the donee. The old technique is a way of extracting bone marrow; it has nothing to do with what goes into the donee. So there is no medically required reason (that I know of) to have to use the old technique anymore.

          1. It is still needed fro physicians who retain that special, evil laugh.

  3. “The National Organ Transplant Your Body Belongs To Us Ha Ha Act of 1984 remains.”

    1. By the way, the date it was ratified is eerily appropriate.

  4. The court said the new technology isn’t covered by the law because actual bone marrow isn’t taken from the donor. Instead, specialized cells that grow into marrow are taken from a donor’s bloodstream, and is basically a blood donation, not an organ transplant, the court said.

    And the obvious question would be where in the whole GODDAMNED CONSTITUTION is there a distinction between blood and organs…

    Maybe in “To Serve Man” under “Sweet Breads”, but not in the Constitution. Fucking tax-fed leeches.

  5. I should have “donated” eggs in the late 90s when I was a coed. Back then the going rate was something around $10,000. Now it’s only $5,500.

    It’s also more difficult to “donate” them, as regulations governing what is considered a viable candidate for donation, most notably age and health HX, has been greatly increased.

    That said, with the refinement of GIFT/ZIFT tech, has managed to keep the price low, and there is no shortage of egg donors.

    “this pilot program will be perfectly legal, provided the donated cells are taken from a donor’s bloodstream rather than the hip. (Approximately 70 percent of all bone marrow donations are offered through the arm in a manner similar to donating whole blood.)”

    Adult pluripotent stem cell tech is a beautiful thing, guided by the ole Invisible Hand, indeed.

    1. “guided by the ole Invisible Hand, indeed.”

      Works ‘way betta than Yahweh.

  6. And the obvious question would be where in the whole GODDAMNED CONSTITUTION is there a distinction between blood and organs…

    Philosophically, OM, your argument is sound. However, blood and blood products (of which blood marrow is one) are regenerative, meaning the risk curve is pretty low for the donor. Ova have a viable shelf life but women are born with more eggs than they will ever need and sperm is produced by the male throughout the life cycle and the swimmers can be frozen for later introduction and fertilization.

    The liver is regenerative to a certain degree, but liver transplants, and other organs still require whole organs for transplantation. And I don’t know of any organs that grow back post excision. That said, I firmly believe the family of the donor should be financially recompensed for organs donated by the soon-to-be-deceased.

    I assume you are referring to giving up a kidney for cash, since a healthy person can survive nicely with one?

    1. Re: Groovus Maximus,

      I assume you are referring to giving up a kidney for cash, since a healthy person can survive nicely with one?

      I am referring to the fact that we’re not the property of the government.

      1. I think somebody forgot to tell the government that.

      2. Yes but other than donating a kidney you wont be your property either.

        1. italic on wrong you/your

    2. I totally saw Star Trek IV, and that old lady grew a new kidney after Dr. McCoy gave her a pill.

      1. That was just a holodeck kidney.

        Speaking of which, after Dr Pulaski spent days on the holodeck eating Moriarty’s crumpets, shouldn’t her innards have ruptured when all the holocrumpet molecules disintegrated?

      2. Don’t talk about the Shat like that!

  7. Ironically titled law.

  8. Also: There’s no way in hell I’d ask someone for a kidney. You’d -always- be picking up the fucking bar tabs for the rest of your life.

    1. I hadn’t thought of *that* angle!
      You’re right; no damn kidney without a life-time free bar tab!

      1. I don’t drink.

        Can I have my donee grow weed for me in perpetuity?

  9. I am referring to the fact that we’re not the property of the government.

    I agree wholeheartedly OM. This is not in question.

    The point of my response to you was, “What organ can you give up and still survive, absent blood products and kidneys?” Unless you have notions of pulling the ultimate Willy Loman, should selling vital organs become legal (which IMO, it should. Cries of Brave New World notwithstanding.)

    1. Eyes, testicles, sections of liver which regenerate, ovaries, appendices, gall blenders, etc.

      1. Corwin regrew his eyes.

      2. “Gall blender” is pretty funny to me.

  10. Eyes, testicles, sections of liver which regenerate, ovaries, appendices, gall blenders, etc.

    You’re quite the masochist, Tulpy Poo. You want to give up all that stuff for salvage? (I also didn’t know you were a hermaphrodite, NTTAWWT.)

    How much has your addiction to Dimetapp and Peanut Butter set you back to risk becoming a blind (or visually impaired), neutered/spayed, hematocompromised, low fat eating mass of Tulpiness?

    1. I actually didn’t think of those but it won’t be long in the future where salvaging an eye won’t a big deal when you’ll be able to have a fucking sweet robot eye instead.

      Also, who the fuck would get an appendix transplant?

      1. It won’t be long before we can get a fucking sweet robot anything, making organ donation an archaic tradition from days of yore. And we can have nanorobots to constantly improve our conditions and appearances – no more plastic surgery. Obesity? Fat eating nanorobots that shit muscle. The future’s going to be badass, as long as the government doesn’t fuck it up.

  11. I actually didn’t think of those but it won’t be long in the future where salvaging an eye won’t a big deal when you’ll be able to have a fucking sweet robot eye instead.

    It would probably be more cost-effective to have the sweet robot eye instead of a whole orbicular transplant (which is not possible now, just corneal transplants are done).

    Testicular transplants are autographic (using frozen autographic tissue pre-op), as are most ovarian procedures (though there have been successful whole allographic transplants between twins).

    I can’t think of a medical reason to get a gall bladder transplant, other than experimental and certainly would not be cost effective over the long run, as opposed to cholecystectomy and dietary lifestyle changes.

    LDLT (Living Donor Liver Transplants) are promising as a means of alleviating the demand for liver tissue and accounts for about 5% or so of the liver transplants performed worldwide, but as I said upthread, requires a whole liver from which to transect and excise, and will “grow back” (but not totally regenerate) to a size relatively commensurate to the age of the recipient. However, the liver will not be as large nor quite as functional as a whole novel allographic liver, but the odds (around 80% recovery rate for peds and adults, with near 100% recovery for some techniques) for long term recovery are comparable to whole organ transplants. The split liver transplant techniques certainly beat the certainty of death otherwise.

    I have no idea why anyone would get an appendix transplant other than an experimental novel procedure, though the appendix, once thought as vestigial, performs an immunological function in the cecum of the large intestine.

    And, as ever the pedant, Tulpy Poo is correct: those organs he cited are not vital to survival.

    1. It’s all fun and games until someone gets an obstructing fecalith.

      By the way, Wikipedia disagrees with you on the definition of “vestigial”, claiming that an organ which performs some minor function can still be considered vestigial if its original evolved purpose has been lost.

    2. Also, a frequent commenter apparently has a sign of appendicitis named after him.

      1. He went to a state school, WTF do you expect?

        Another frequent commenter’s claim to fame: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thoughtform

        1. you need to put this on your online dating profiles (instead of “I do anal on the first date”)

          http://slenderia.blogspot.com/…..heory.html

        2. you need to put this on your online dating profiles (instead of “I do anal on the first date”)

          http://slenderia.blogspot.com/…..heory.html

        3. you need to put this on your online dating profiles (instead of “I do anal on the first date”)

           

        4. you need to put this on your ‘profiles’ (instead of “I do anal on the first date”)

           

      2. I wonder if it resembles the pain that dear Logic goes through when said commenter is beating the fuck out it.

  12. It’s all fun and games until someone gets an obstructing fecalith.

    Very true, Tulpy P. It can turn into an emergent situation very quickly.

    By the way, Wikipedia disagrees with you on the definition of “vestigial”, claiming that an organ which performs some minor function can still be considered vestigial if its original evolved purpose has been lost.

    The nomenclature of “vestigial” has always been an area of hot debate. I disagree with Wiki since it’s generally accepted within medical circles that “vestigial” means “no longer has a function.”

    With what I disagree using the Wiki definition is the appendix is lined with WBC’s, which is part of the innate immune system, to help maintain the critical balance of normal flora residing within the colon proper and cecum in particular. The Wiki definition assumes a function assigned to the appendix that otherwise doesn’t exist, or is or is not specified to have existed.

    I have yet to see evidence that micro-evolution had another function besides imunological in mind for the appendix. Just because one can live within norms, physiologically speaking, without a certain organ or tissue, does not make the function of that organ or tissue “minor”. As one of my med school professors said, “Everything in the human body is there for a reason.”

    More to the point, please give me a compelling medical reason for an appendix transplant.

  13. Also, a frequent commenter apparently has a sign of appendicitis named after him.

    I have resisted using that particular sign when in reference to dunphy. I may have to review that policy.

    Incidentally, Tulpy, IME, Dunphy’s Sign, in males, is the most common sign of acute uncomplicated appendicitis.

  14. Speaking of which, after Dr Pulaski spent days on the holodeck eating Moriarty’s crumpets, shouldn’t her innards have ruptured when all the holocrumpet molecules disintegrated?

    Yet another Star Trek euphemism is born. Or a Sherlock Holmes euphemism, if one is Alan Vanneman.

    And yes, Tulpa, her gut should have dissolved and blown a serious leak.

  15. The life is not what it used to be, [DOH], [baa]. There is a new world waiting for you though.

    Endorsed by National AnonBot Association.

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