Tackling the Global Organ Shortage
In the United States alone, more than 100,000 people are waiting for new hearts, lungs and kidneys. Many of these patients will die waiting.
Frustrated, some patients turn to a global black market in organs.
To tackle the organ shortage, countries are experimenting with various strategies.
Israel just enacted a new law to boost the number of donors. The law favors donors over non-donors when it comes to receiving an organ. And some Americans are pushing a controversial solution – legalizing the buying and selling of organs.
Iran is already doing that. The Iranian government gives every kidney donor $1200 and one year of free health care. This system has increased the availability of organs, but at what price?
Listen to a story about Israel’s new law and the interview and our interview with Dr. Al-Mousawi. He’s a transplant surgeon and past president of the Middle East Society for Organ Transplantation. He is also the guest in this Science Forum discussion.
He argues that the Iranian system may have reduced the organ shortage, but it is unfair to the donors, who are often poor and underprivileged.
- Have you signed an organ donor card? If not, what kind of incentive would make you do it?
- Are you in favor of a legalized market for organs? Do you think a regulated system will prevent transplant tourism and a black market for organs?