NAME: SAKAPUTU MARIA B
STUDENT NO: 201610322
MODULE: BIOSAFETY, BIOETHICS AND IPR (CHB 3742)
BIOETHICAL ISSUE: ORGAN DONATION
For the past two decades, organ donation has increased drastically across the globe, but the shortage of organs remains. The Cleveland clinic defines organ donation as a process of removing an organ from one person’s body and surgically placing it in another person’s body. Organs such as lungs, liver, intestines, heart, pancreas, kidney and many more can be donated or transplanted however; the most donated organs are liver, kidney, heart and lungs. These organs can be donated by a deceased donor or living donor. Organ donation statistics said: In 2016, more than 33600 donations were made, in 2017, 42609 organs were donated, more than 116000 men, women and children are on national waiting list for a life-saving organ transplant and 8000 people die every year due organs not donated on time. Religions such as Jehovah’s Witness, Greek Orthodox, and Gypsies are against organ donation, but the government encourages this process worldwide, as countries have put up systems to persuade donors to register.
Arguments for and against
According to Florida Today, it is ethical to donate an organ as a single organ donor can save up to eight lives. Organ donation has no age limit; therefore anyone of any age group can be a donor. Organ donation helps many families of donors during their grieving process, it does not take away their pain but it makes them happy knowing that one of them saved someone’s life. However, organ donation does not fully benefit the donor as it may lead to complications such as diabetes and high blood pressure. Organ transplant can leads to diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, sexual problems, anxiety and depression in the recipient and it might also lead to death if the organ is not the recipient’s match or size. There sale of organs affects the nation’s economy in a way that many people will end up selling their organs for a living. The poor do not afford organ donation, while the rich embrace it as an opportunity to enhance survival.
The Transplantation of Human Organs Act, 1994 states that “before the removal of body organs, a registered medical practitioner should certify that life or brain-stem function have ceased and no hospital or other place is authorized to remove organs of human unless appropriate authority like the state or central government authorizes and register it”. The laws of different countries concerning organ donation allow donors or their families to allow or refuse the donation. In the European Union, organ donation is regulated by the members of the states, while in England donors volunteer themselves (Cohen, 1992). In 2006 the UK Organ Donation Taskforce was established with the task of identifying barriers to donation and making recommendations for increasing donation and procurement within the current legal framework (Organ donation Taskforce report, 2008).
Organ donation is said to be a lifesaving process as it gives many individuals a second chance to life; however it puts the donor’s and recipient’s life at risk , it can also rise ethical concerns. The rejection of an organ can cause diseases or even worst death can occur and the donor has to be informed about all the risks involved in the process. Organ donation from deceased donors seem to be the safer than donation from a living donor, since the person is already dead and taking an organ from their bodies causes no harm to the deceased body. To sum up, organ donors are needed in every corner of the world to safe thousands of lives, but the shortage of organs keeps increasing, therefore countries such as Spain, Belgium and Australia have changed in legislation and introduced presumed consent, whereby organs can be used after death for transplantation unless individuals have objected during their lifetime an opt-out system (Anon, 2005).
Anon, (2005). Impact of presumed consent for organ donation on donation rates: a systematic review. Available at: http://www.bmj.com/content/338/bmj.a3162.
Cleveland Clinic: Organ donation and transplantation. Retrieved from http://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/11750-organ-donation-and-transplantationCohen, C (1992). “The Case for Presumed Consent”. Transplantation Proceedings. 24(5): 2168-2172.
Florida Today (2015, Apr 8). Retrieved from https://www.google.com.na/amp/s/amp.floridatoday.com/amp/25461617Organ Donation Statistics 2018. Retrieved from http://organdonation.com/organ-donation-statistics-2018/Organ Donation Taskforce. Organ for transplant: a report from the Organ Donation Taskforce. London: Department of Health, 2008.
Transplantation of Human Organs Act, 1994.