The high rise in technology has necessitated the transplants of organs such as the kidneys. The 21st century has been noted to experience increased instances of organ transplants. Increased rate of organs transplants has resulted to shortages of organs supply. Most people nowadays are not willing to give out their organs for free as there before. Many people currently are not willing to give away their organs for free, but are instead opting to sell them.
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There are some surgeons that are advocating for the UK government to legalize the sale of human organs. Legalizing the sale of human organs in UK will reduce instances where UK residents are forced to travel abroad to buy organs for transplant from the black market. The illegal buying of these organs makes many UK patients’ who undergo these operations abroad having to undergo the same operations once again when they get back home as a result of the poor operations they receive (Goddard, 1992).
This discussion uses the utilitarianism theory to address the issues that are related to legalization of the sale of human organs. After addressing these issues, appropriate recommendations are given on the strategy that the UK government should use when legalizing the sale of human organs. This discussion is based on the article titled ‘Legalize sale of human organs to end ‘transplant tourism’, say surgeons” by Clare Bates (Bates, 2011).
The utilitarianism theory states that the right course of action is the action that brings maximum good. The theory uses the nature of outcome of an action to judge the moral worth of the action. The Act utilitarianism states that before making any choice, one should weigh the consequence of each action and settle for the one that is more likely to give the greatest pleasure.
The rule of utilitarian involves first determining the potential rules of an action. It advocates that in order to determine the right rule to apply in a certain situation, one should consider the effects of its prolonged use. The rule suggests that if the rule result to more happiness than it was initially due to its prolonged use, then it is a rule that should be followed at always (Mill, 2009).
The great advancement in technology and especially in the medical treatment has resulted to increased organ transplants carried annually. Nowadays the high increase in organ transplants globally is greatly affected by the low supply of the organs. This shortage had hindered many individuals from receiving the required medication which are vital to save their life or greatly improve their quality of lives. The restrictions of the sale of human organs in many countries such as UK and Canada have caused access of these organs in these nations difficult.
The U.S. government has legalized the sale of human organs and blood. Thus, the nation has been successive in supplying their patients with adequate blood for transfusion purposes and organs for transplants (Jone, 1999).Adequate supply of these organs in U.S has enhanced the lives of many individuals and also saved lives for many. Therefore, according to the utilitarianism theory, the sale of human organs is right because it has helped many people live better lives.
In addition, the sale of these organs has saved many people’s lives. This has enhanced the overall happiness in the society at large. The recovery of the patients who receive these medications makes them to assume their day –day –activities which enable them contribute positively to the economical progress of their nations. In nations where the sale of human organs is restricted, the supply of these organs is inadequate.
This shortage result to an increased loss of many patients’ lives that required the organ transplants. This results to an amplified lack of happiness to the people affected by the loose of their loved ones and eventually overall unhappiness to the society at large (May, 1977).
Therefore, the concerned governments should legalize the sale of human organs so that to increase their supply such that everyone is in a position to receive them when such instances occurs as long as he/she can afford to buy them. The sale of human organs is thus ethical as it enhances access of these organs to those patients who need organ transplants. Their recovery helps them to live happy and fulfilling lives which could not have been possible without receiving the organs necessary for the organ transplants (Bates, 2011).
In addition, the sale of human organs has helped many people receive some money to supplement their strained budgets at one moment or another. Many people are nowadays living in great distress due to the current increased cost of living. The income that many people receive is hardly sufficient to take care of the many bills they have to settle. Therefore, when they are given an opportunity to exchange their organs at a fee, the money they receive helps them greatly to supplement their stressed budget.
This makes them happy since they have earned an extra coin that enable them to purchase something extra which they could not have been in a position to buy otherwise. Therefore, legalizing the sale of organs should be the first thing that all governments should consider implementing, since it is associated with a lot of positive outcomes, both to the receiving and the donating persons (George, 1984).
Some people argue that since these organs are very valuable as they determines the survival or death of the patients who receive them, they should not be offered for free to total strangers, but instead patients should pay for them. This perception is very ethical since one should not give out his/her organ and be left out suffering and in mostly in instances where the donating person is not well financially.
To recover the blood lost while undergoing the operation, the person is required to feed well and mostly eat plenty of fruits and vegetables which are costly to such a person. To compensate for that loss and to ensure that happiness of both parties is guaranteed, the person receiving the organ transplant should pay for the organ received such that the one donating can get money so that he/she can afford to eat the recommended diet.
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Good dieting will help his/her health not to be affected negatively which can result to him/her being unhappy, a situation which is not in line with the theory of utilitarianism which considers actions as being ethical when their outcomes are associated with increased happiness (Jone, 1999).
The selling of human organs on the other hand can become dangerous if not well regulated. This is because legalizing the sale of human organs can result to some organizations that venture into this enterprise selling contaminated organs which will greatly affect the health of the patients who receives such organs.
Many organizations are unethically managed and they can go to any extent to make money. Thus, the sale of contaminated human organs is not a surprise to such organizations. Selling of such organs can culminate to very unhappy situation since in many instances it will result to more complications to the patients who receive such organs (Shaheen, 1987).
Such circumstances will result to a situation of unhappiness to the relatives of the patients who receive contaminated organs, despite them paying huge money while purchasing these organs. In such situations the theory of utilitarianism does not hold and thus, would consider selling of human organs as an unethical conduct since the action leads to an overall unhappiness (Kwenye, 2011).
Similarly, selling of human organs is perilous if not well regulated as some people can opt to kill others to get their organs and sell them to earn a living .Such situations can be very dangerous because many lives can be sacrificed in pursuit of lives of very ill patients who might not eventually survive, despite receiving the transplants needed (Rinehart, 1993).
According to the act utilitarianism, the action of killing a healthy person in order to save the life of an almost dying person is not right. This is because the chances of survival of the ailing person are usually minimal as compared to the chances of living of the healthy person.
Therefore, the probability of occurrence of a double tragedy in instances of the loss of the two people is very high. When this occurs, it results to a situation of aggravated moaning that deprives the happiness of individuals affected and the happiness of the society at large (Fern, 1987).
The act emphasizes on individuals making good choices by first weighing the prevailing choices. In such a situation, the best choice to settle for is sparing the life of the healthy person, but not sacrificing it in a situation where the chance of the ailing person surviving is minimal. When people kill healthy and innocent people to sell their organs to ailing people for transplants purposes, then the idea of selling of human organs becomes unethical (Mill, 2009).
The sale of human organs as already discussed seems to be a very controversial issue to arrive at a consensus. Despite ones school of thought, it is obvious that the sale of human organs is generally beneficial. The reason behind this is that selling human organs has greatly assisted many ailing people who could have assumed very desperate living conditions or who could have died recover and contribute positively to the well being of the society at large.
Nevertheless, the sale of human organs should entail enacting appropriate policies to regulate it and also ensure that the policies implemented are well monitored to curtail the adverse consequences that can accompany legalizing of the sale of human organs which include selling of contaminated organs or killing people to sell their organs.
Through this process, the sale of human organs will be regarded as being ethical since it will result to greater happiness as more lives will be saved. Thus, the UK government should consider enacting appropriate polices to legalize the sale of human organs.
List of References
Bates, C., 6 Jan, 2011. Legalise sale of human organs to end ‘transplant tourism’, say surgeons. Web.
Fern, C., 1987.The Life and Death Questions of an Organ Market. Fortune, pp. 108-118.
George A., 1984.Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Organ Sales, Hastings Center Report, Vol.14 pp. 22-23.
Goddard, H., 1992. No Easy Way to Figure Costs of Transplants, The Medical Post, 7, P. 43.
Jone, D. (1999). Ethical and Legal Issues in the Supply of Blood Products. [Online]
Kwenye, Z., 2011. The Case for an Human Organ Futures Market. Web.
May, E., 1977. Human Existence, Medicine and Ethics. Chicago: Franciscan Herald Press, Ch. 7.
Mill, J., 2009. Utilitarianism. London: Cambridge University Press.
Rinehart, D., 1993. Sold for Organs, Risk to Kids Grows, The Edmonton Journal, 14.
Shaheen B., 1987. Morality and Marketing Human Organs, Journal of Business Ethics, Vol.6, pp. 37-44.