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Legal kidney sales to fight black market

Nancy Marshall-Genzer Feb 21, 2008
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Legal kidney sales to fight black market

Nancy Marshall-Genzer Feb 21, 2008
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Scott Jagow: You’ve probably heard horror stories about people being kidnapped, and waking up to find one of their kidneys had been removed. The Cato Institute in Washington says there’s a way to snuff out the black market for kidneys: legalize the sale of human organs.

Cato makes its case at a forum today. Here’s Nancy Marshall Genzer.


Nancy Marshall Genzer: Diabetes is on the rise. The disease eventually destroys kidneys. Waiting lists for scarce kidney transplants are growing.

Cato’s Sigrid Fry-Revere says legal kidney sales would solve the problem. Donors can live on just one kidney. Fry-Revere says the selling process would be tightly regulated.

Sigrid Fry-Revere: The government can decide, you need to have informed consent.

But some bioethicists argues that poor donors would be taken advantage of. Instead, they favor a system called presumed consent. After you die, your organs would be harvested automatically, unless you’d specified otherwise.

But Fry-Revere says we shouldn’t have to give away a valuable body part that will eventually be sold.

Fry-Revere: And then the companies that transform it into useable, medical material, make a killing.

The President’s Council on Bioethics is now studying the ethical issues involved in the organ shortage.

In Washington, I’m Nancy Marshall Genzer for Marketplace.

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