Selling body parts

by Chris Bertram on December 4, 2003

There’s an “interesting piece in yesterday’s Guardian”:,3604,1098522,00.html about a BMA debate on the sale of organs for transplant. Leading the charge for this is, predictably enough, John Harris:

bq. With the backing of some of Britain’s leading transplant surgeons, he will say thousands of lives could be saved by establishing “an ethical market” in live organs. Under current law the only organs used are those donated free of charge, usually by a relative, or taken from a cadaver.

Live donors running the risks of surgery to provide the organ or tissue should receive payment tax free and without consequent loss of state benefits, Prof Harris will say. They and their families should also have high priority for a subsequent transplant, should the need arise. (…..)

Prof Harris will argue that the NHS should be the monopoly buyer of donated organs….

Today the Guardian has a couple of interesting letters responding to the proposal and worrying about its social effects.