Commercialization of Organ Transplants

A brief summary for and against the commercialization of organ transplants

The commercialization of organ transplants is an issue that has attracted global attention across the board. Ethicists have expressed their displeasure with the current trends in the health sector with regard to organ transplants. On the other hand, medical practitioners are justifying the move arguing that it would help in saving lives (Ireland, 2008). The commercialization of organ transplants is evidently an ethical issue that requires a careful approach to justify or condemn it. However, the practice has many benefits and drawbacks as well.

The difference in its morality depends on the subject being considered. On one hand, if the patient is the focus, then it becomes ethically acceptable to commercialize organ transplants (Ireland, 2008). For instance, consider a patient whose life is dependent on an organ transplant for him/her to survive. It would be sensible to use every means possible to acquire the needed organ to save his/her life (Ireland, 2008). Putting this approach in mind, commercialization of organ transplants is essential.

On the other hand, when focusing on poor people who are willing to trade their organs for financial gains, it becomes unethical (Ireland, 2008). This move is feared to influence the poor and desperate individuals to seek financial gains by selling their organs (Ireland, 2008). In the past, organ transplants were based on voluntary action and this was considered ethical. Giving incentives to influence donors’ decisions could have a negative implication on human ethics.

The sale of organs should not be permitted

Permitting organs trade is a fanciful idea that should not be entertained under any condition. It has been said that money is the root of all evil and this could yet be another avenue for overwhelming evils to occur. Ireland asserts, “Even in the face of desperate illness, there are moral standards to protect” (2008, para. 7). It is true that the need for kidney transplants is far from being satisfied. The World Health Organization called for an urgent global resolve to end this stalemate (Ireland, 2008).

Saving the vulnerable

International standards that would protect the poor and monitor the quality of organ transplants should be established before we can commercialize them (Ireland, 2008). Considering the latest statistics, research has proven that the highest percentage of transplant donors is from third-world countries (Ireland, 2008). Most of them are slaves through illegal human trafficking, while others are illiterate foreigners. Instead of commercializing organ transplants, health practitioners should explore another measure that can reduce the need for transplantation.

Exploiting the vulnerable

Commercializing organ transplants can lead to a situation like what was experienced in China in 2006 (Ireland, 2008). That same year, a lot of kidney transplants were done around the country. The most shocking and dehumanizing aspect of this is the fact that all these kidneys were retrieved from executed prisoners (Ireland, 2008). Clearly, even with the regulation of the government, kidney transplants have to lead to the inhumane exploitation of the poor. Manila, a slum in the Philippines is known for the kidney trade.

The poor and the vulnerable are exposed to exploitation from the elite who suffer from life-threatening ailments. The sad bit is that the rich are using the poor to make their own lives better while they endanger the poor man’s life (Shaw, 2014). Research has clearly proven that most of the donors do not even benefit from the money they get from selling their organs (Ireland, 2008). This is a total disregard for human dignity. In some cases, patients who are willing to buy these organs are not even qualified for the transplant since they are too sick for the surgery (Ireland, 2008).

Attaching money value on human body parts is indecent

Supporters of the move to commercialize organ transplants argue that it would reduce the waiting list and increase the supply of organs (Ireland, 2008). This is true given an economic approach and assuming that all the donors will be motivated by the need to save human life. In this case, a voluntary donation can still be practical. Nonetheless, the use of money creates a different perspective with regard to human decency (Shaw, 2014). While dealing with the human body, commercial principles cannot be used.

We should not forget the danger that would emanate from commercializing organ transplants. This could increase the level of crime causing death on a global scale. It is anticipated that people may start killing their fellow human beings to remove valuable organs for sale. Attaching financial gains on such an ethical matter is irresponsible and a danger to the human race (Shaw, 2014).

Taking advantage of the needy

Common decency demands that humans should “act always in a way that expresses respect for humanity” (Ireland, 2008, para. 26). Creating a trading system for human organs portrays poor people as available tools for purchase. This is acting in total disregard for human worth. Ireland asserts that human value should have incomparable worth (2008, para. 27). The problem with organ transplants is that it largely affects the poor and benefits the rich.

Poor people need money while the rich need organs. Therefore, the poor will be willing to donate their organs without considering the health complications that would follow afterwards. On the other hand, the rich are willing to use their wealth to revive their dwindling health. These two desperate situations will require a global solution to deal with.

Consequentialism theory

Consequentialism theory is the best normative theory that supports my argument on the moral and ethical issues surrounding commercial organ transplants. This theory asserts that the morality of any action is contingent on its consequences (Bentham, 2011). This means the results or outcomes of any action will define its morality and ethical grounds. My argument is that the results or anticipated consequences of commercializing organ transplants are enough to term it unethical. This is based on the effects it has on donors and the possible increase in human smuggling. Other effects like death and slavery are so dehumanizing that most people dread even the discussion of a possible market for human organs.


This research has clearly presented ethical concerns with regard to the commercialization of organs transplant. The paper argues that the trade of human organs should not be allowed. The paper outlines serious implications that are likely to occur if the business is tolerated. Clear examples of the effects of commercializing organ transplants have been cited in this paper. The paper clearly condemns the trade of human organs giving the practical and reasonable basis for its moral stand. Consequentialism theory has been identified as the most appropriate normative theory to support this report.


Bentham, J. (2011). Consequentialism. Web.

Ireland, C. (2008). Ethicists, philosophers discuss selling of human organs. Web.

Shaw, W. H. (2014). Business Ethics. Boston, MA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

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