Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Video: Singapore debates legal organ trade -- 27 August 2008

According to the video above, just for kidneys alone, there are more than 600 people in Singapore waiting for one. Many would die before a donor is found.

Instead of waiting for organs through HOTA, which may very well occur in a very small numbers as compared to those on the organ transplant waiting list, why don’t we legalise organ trade which means that “sellers” are willing, informed and consenting and more importantly fairly treated parties? After all, granting others (the buyers, to be exact) a new lease of life is the greatest gift that one can give to another.

Take the example of Salim, a 22 year old Indonesian, who sold 7 centimetres of his liver. He became a rich man, buying cows and goats. We can safely assume that with the aforementioned, his family benefited along with the monetary gain from the transaction.

Evidently, both buyers and sellers seem to have nothing to lose, only benefits to reap. So why are there hesitations?

If Dr Arthur Lim, the ex-president of Medical Association sees no issue on legalising organ trading, why should we even think twice about it?

For kidneys, we may have two but we only require one to function and as in the case of liver, severing just a few centimetres of it can bring life upon someone else. Does this seemingly exhibit potential of setting up a Donation Drive like we have for The Blood Bank?

Are we degrading the value of lives by attaching a monetary value?

The question clearly is not whether there CAN be a "market" for organs but whether there SHOULD be...

The recent case involving Tang Wee Sung, executive director of the CK Tang Department Store pleaded guilty for arranging to pay middlemen S$300,000 and S$20,000 to the Indonesian donor of a kidney.

The services of middlemen are more than 10 times the amount to be paid for a kidney. By stating these figures, do you start tabulating how much you are worth “inside of you”? Make that S$40,000 for both kidneys, S$30,000 for the liver, S$60,000 for the heart which total up to S$130,000 for your 4 organs. Unfortunately, it is still undervalued as compared to the services of the middlemen.

We are alive and healthy simply because our organs are functioning well. Should organ trade be legalised, to state it bluntly, would it mean that if we are able to fork out that certain amount of money for particular organs which we are in need of, we can purchase “a life” for our loved ones? Would you do that for your loved ones?

By legalising organ trade, would that be our first step onto The Slippery Slope?

In Iran, the practice of selling one’s kidneys for profit is legal.

In the context of Singapore, if we were to regulate organ trading as in Iran, having a state agency oversee the legal procedures and paperwork to be done, does it mean that we are in no risk of suffering from the onset of The Slippery Slope?

Let's look at it from another perspective...

After being presented appeals based on Dr Lim’s point of view, the facts presented for the number of people on the waiting list and of their impending death and your emotions gathered through both videos, are you for or against legalizing organ trading in Singapore?

Place your comments below!