Organ Trade Debate

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The trading of organs is a highly controversial issue. The recent revelation of illegal kidney sale in Singapore has sparked media-wide discussion and debate on organ trading and also the relevance of the current Human Organ Transplant Act (HOTA). Organ failure can affect any organ in the body, such as the kidney, liver, heart, lungs and cornea. Whilst dialysis can help to prolong and sustain lives in patients with end-stage kidney failure, sufferers of liver, heart and lungs failure often die before a suitable cadaveric donor can be found. There are currently about 563 patients on the waiting list for a kidney transplant. The wait is long, averaging an arduous 9 years, and often futile for many, dropping out of the list either from death or becoming too ill to be eligible for one. According to the HOTA, it is a criminal offence to sell or buy an organ. Iran is the only country in the world where organ sale has been legalised. As a result, Iran currently has no wait list for kidney transplantation. The sale of kidneys are legal and regulated. The Charity Association for the Support of Kidney Patients (CASKP) and the Charity Foundation for Special Diseases (CFSD) control the trade of organs with the support of the Iranian government. The organizations match donors to recipients, setting up tests to ensure compatibility. The amounts paid to the donor vary in Iran but the average figures are US$5000-$6000 for kidney donation. Expectedly, this legal trade has not been complication free but it has eliminated the waiting list for kidneys in Iran. The controversy in organ trading stems around the ethical concerns, for fear that the poor and ignorant donors may be exploited by the rich recipients, and that those who can afford to pay will step out of their queue sooner to get a transplant. The opponents of organ trading frown upon the idea of even putting a price

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