Moral, Ethical, and Legal Implications of Legalizing Human Organ Trade

THIS JUST IN! The United States Department of Health and Human Services and the Federal Trade Commission just announced its joint efforts to organize and develop an international human organ inventory system that permits the sale and purchase of human organs!

Discuss the moral, ethical, and legal implications of legalizing human organ trade. Reference any federal laws applicable to this scenario.

In two different paragraph give your personal opinion to Jordan Paltani and Crystal Moore 

Jordan Paltani 

Purchasing kidneys is not only prohibited by international norms, it violates U.S. law. The only country where a legally approved market in kidneys exists is Iran. But market proponents insist that legal prohibition of commerce in kidneys is a grave mistake. One position, put forth by market opponents, is that a person’s selling an internal body part is always wrong. Kant maintained that a person’s selling one of his internal parts – the example he gives is selling a tooth to be transplanted into another’s mouth – is always wrong, apparently because this action fails to express proper respect for the seller’s own dignity. Another questionable absolute position, put forth by market proponents, is that buying internal body parts from informed, voluntary and autonomous sellers is always right – that is, morally permissible. Consider this: One way to buy someone’s kidney would be to buy her. Would it be morally permissible for you to buy as a slave a mother who has put herself up for sale in order to get money to educate her kids?

Crystal Moore 

Legalizing human organs for trade has more negative implications than positive ones. While there are many benefits to organ trading such as more people surviving instead of waiting on a donor list and individuals being able to decide who and when they will receive the organ from it has many disadvantages. Let’s take a look at the cons:

  • Increased crime rates for organ trafficking 
  • Disadvantages to those who suffer from financial hardships 
  • Increased premiums and price gouging for organ services
  • The less-fortunate using organ donations as a means of income which increases their risk of complications due to the removal of their organs

Not all countries consider organ trading illegal. An example is Pakistan, selling kidney’s is used in many instances such as trading a kidney for the release from bonded slavery (Adair, 2011). The legalization of organ trading has been often seen as a way to reduce organ selling on the black market (Adair, 2011). I personally feel that the crimes again organ trading if it becomes legal will actually change the way organs are sold and crimes will increase. Without any laws to prevent individuals from selling the organs they may go to extreme lengths in order to procure the organ and make a profit. This could mean prying on the weak, poor and mentally challenged. 



Adair, A., & Wigmore, S. J. (2011). Paid organ donation: the case against. Annals of The Royal College of Surgeons of England93(3), 191–192.

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