by Tara Hebbar and Aahana Khemani

The organ transplantation procedure is indeed a much-needed procedure. However, the system behind needs to be improved. On average, 17 people die every day while awaiting an organ. Is this the advanced medical facility and system that we have? 

As of February, 2021, over 107,000 are on the organ transplant waiting list in the United States of America. Every 9 minutes, an individual joins the waiting list, and out of the 90% that support it, only 60% actually sign up to be donors, post-death, or otherwise. It takes more than a minute to fully register the magnitude of these aforementioned statistics. The lack of donors is a certain place to point fingers at, however, how much of this blame can be pinned on the system itself? Its efficiency and honesty can and has in the past been questioned by several. An estimate of around, 50% of all organ transplanted organs are rejected. Yes, we understand that organs much fit into a certain category and criteria in order to be inserted into someone, however, if it doesn’t match one, is there a chance it will match another? We believe that although the people involved in this, may be trying their best to help all the critical patients, that there might be a little bit of neglect. To think that so many lives can be saved, by some minor changes, only makes one realise the impact and importance of reform in this system in order to save so many families the distress that they have to face. With many patients in dire need of organs, and unable to acquire them legally, several desperate families are forced to look elsewhere. This elsewhere is none other than the devastatingly large and popular – organ black market.

The organ black market has proven to be improper. It is not only unethical, but has proven to be disrespectful. A man sold his wife’s kidney to a businessman, without her knowing! One of her kidney’s was found missing and the other infected. On top of it, he didn’t even tell her after the organ was removed from her body. After finding out, he was arrested. The organ black market has demonstrated how a supposedly helpful procedure has turned into the complete opposite. There are no doubt flaws in the organ transplant system, however, this is to the next level. Furthermore, this is only one side to it. There is another distinctive perspective that not everybody is able to see and empathize with, clearly. People with desperate needs for an organ along with the large shortage of organs, are forced to do unethical things. Medical stress is a factor at times that plays a role in influencing people to purchase from the black market. 

Saviour Siblings is a new concept that seems to be gaining public popularity. It is when parents give birth to a child, only to utilise one or more of their organs for their sibling. This not only causes a mental drain on them but can also cause disabilities and physical strain and health problems in their adulthood. There are several problems with this, unethical and scientifically when organs are taken (taking stem cells and bone marrow don’t have health effects and are positive since the sibling knows it saved its sibling without facing any challenges themselves). Ethically, children are children, and one child shouldn’t be denied their life only to save the other. This child will not only face issues if they require the organ, but many even die following the procedure as it is an essential organ that is taken away from them. How can this be thought of as any different from murder? In the case that this child does survive, and remains healthy enough to live a normal and long life, the mental strain is also one to consider. They will grow up, and live their life knowing that their only “purpose” of being born was to be “used” in some sense. This is directly caused by the lack of organs in the legal market. This, however, it’s a hopeless cause. It is one in dire requirement of reform, which is very possible. It requires a large number of people to decide to donate, especially after death. Although there are religious concerns, all religions support kindness and are built on the basis of helping others. After death, one does not require their organs, and therefore, isn’t it better to die a hero, and save someone else’ life? One person, upon their death, can save 8 lives, should all their organs be in the condition to be transplanted. With this simple change, so much can be done and can possibly put an end, or even begin the decline of savior siblings and the illegal black market, which puts so many in strife, and provides monetary gain to the wrong people.

In conclusion, we believe that the organ transplant system is trying to be good, however, it is hard to ignore its flows. The shortage and the wrongs, need to be addressed by medical authorities as well as the government. Whether this means changing the laws on organ transplantation to benefit citizens, or having an elaborate system to provide organs to as many people as possible. The organ transplant system should be modified, to benefit more people than it already is. 

A collection of articles by the students of Ascend International School