Organ Transplants

Right now, in the United States, nearly 100,000 people are awaiting a kidney transplant [1]. Unfortunately, the limited availability of donors means that thousands of waitlisted patients will die every year [2]. This is not the case in Iran, where people have been allowed to sell their kidneys for more than 20 years [2], but the sale of human organs is currently illegal in the U.S. and nearly all other countries. Meanwhile, scientists at UC San Francisco have made incredible advancements in the design of an implantable artificial kidney [3], while pig kidneys are being genetically engineered to hopefully one day survive in humans [4]. Despite these efforts, the shortage for kidneys still exists, and kidneys are just one of the vital organs that thousands of patients are awaiting for transplant.

My Sources:
[1] U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
[2] Black Market Bodies: How Legalizing the Sale of Human Organs Could Save Lives
[3] University of California San Francisco: The Kidney Project
[4] UT Southwestern Medical Center

What feelings or questions did this topic evoke? Do some research and then post your thoughts about organ transplants. You may want to research or ponder the following areas:

  • Have you or anyone you know been affected by this topic? How has it changed how you feel about organ transplants?
  • Have you ever considered donating a kidney, bone marrow, or platelets? What do these donations entail?
  • Have you ever donated blood, and if so, why blood but not organs?
  • Does a black market for organs exist or is this a myth? If you were on an organ waitlist with no assurance of receiving an organ, would you consider searching on the black market?
  • Should organ trade be legalized? How do you think a legal system for organ sales would affect you, or people who are like you?
  • How close is science to implanting animal organs into humans? If animal organs could be transferred to humans, would it be ethical to raise animals to harvest “parts” for humans?
  • How has this class helped you better understand the location or function of the kidneys or other organs?

Remember that in addition to your discussion post, you must converse with at least one other student by replying to their post with your own question or comment.

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Reply to this student: I am not affected by this topic, but instead, it is very interesting to learn about. Experts report that after a successful transplant, the vast majority of people feel elated and hopeful after the surgery. However, in learning about this topic I realize that initial optimism may be accompanied by other emotions. It’s possible that you begin to worry that your condition may return. You may be worried about organ rejection. I never considered donating my organs, nor did I consent to do so. Donations are items of value or money given to a charity or to a person in need. This is an example of a $100 donation to a charity for the homeless. Giving to a fund or cause. A gift or contribution, as to a charitable organization. I never donate blood and nor do I consider doing so. It may be illegal to sell organs, but the United States does very little under its current laws to combat organ trafficking. Even though the United States and most other developed countries around the world have banned the sale of organs, the black market is strong, and it could be argued that it has actually contributed to its growth. In a world where there is such a high demand for organs and few legal ways to obtain them, the black market sale of organs fills an ever-growing need for those with the means. Patients waiting for organ transplants were most concerned about the following issues: the inconvenience of therapy (48.2%), disease progression (47.9%), the burden on family members (59.5%), and financial difficulties (52.3%). By legalizing organ sales, more organs will be available. This will result in shorter waiting lists for organ donations. Thus, more people will be eligible for life-saving organ transplants. A private market for organ sales may even lead to a decrease in organ trafficking. The sale of human organs should not be legalized because it will benefit the wealthy but pressure the poor to sacrifice their own health, it would be more difficult to obtain an organ if donors can sell them and people may think they can use their bodies for profit. most often use pigs as the donor and baboons as human models. Pig organs have been used for kidney and heart transplants into humans. The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs about the size of a fist. You have one on each side of your spine, just below the rib cage. The kidneys filter about half a cup of blood every minute, removing wastes and excess water to make urine.

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