Allowing Kidney Sales, Preserving Patient Autonomy

(Op- Ed)

When it comes to kidney donation, the United States harvests a huge problem–lacking legalization of selling kidneys. Even if every citizen opted to be a donor, we would still be facing the severe organ shortage we are now. The wait list of patients in need is constantly being restricted to a smaller range of age groups because of availability. Compensation for kidneys would not only have the potential to alleviate the shortage, but would also keep many people eligible to receive an organ who may have been moved down or off the list because of age or medical status. With compensation, this would no longer be an issue.


Each person is born with two kidneys. Research has proven that the removal of one kidney has not contributed to an onset of kidney disease nor significantly affected the health or life span of the kidney donor if the surgery was performed (legally and) correctly with proper therapy and follow-up. In other words, life can be lived, and lived well with just one kidney[1]. If monetary compensation were awarded to individuals for a kidney, the black market for kidney sales would be totally eradicated in the US. It would set the conditions to make the surgical process entirely safe for both the donor and recipient, and would not risk the life or lifestyle of the donor.


An important threshold to bear in mind is one of patient autonomy. Legalizing compensation does not jeopardize the autonomy of the patient giving a kidney nor the patient receiving a kidney. If legalized, physicians would ensure each patient (donor and receiver) was made aware of the risk of surgery, and get their conscious consent before operating. In the current black market system, coercion and corruption overpower autonomy of both donor and receiver. Both are frequently cheated out of money and health. Legalizing organ sales would restore each person’s autonomy and provide a safe environment for surgery as well as pre and postoperative healthcare.


The position that the legalization of compensation would only afford the rich access to receive organ transplantation simply does not hold. Not every case would be one requiring monetary value, as donors frequently come from family members, or cadavers. Live donors would most likely request monetary compensation, however, those who could afford to pay a donor for a kidney would quickly be removed from the waiting list. This removal would grant more likelihood of receiving a kidney to the men and women still on the list from fresh cadavers. Compensation would only facilitate the current wait list system to run more efficiently by getting more people taken off at a fast rate; in other words, payment does not hinder those who cannot afford to pay a live donor, rather it would increase their chances of receiving transplantation in a timely matter.


What if the US also made donorship for US citizens something to opt out of rather than opt into? Millions of citizens would be expected to become donors, while maintaining the autonomous choice of being one or not. Furthermore, with the current investment of researching methods for creating synthetic organs, patients in need of kidney transplantation with proper health insurance will have access to this option in the future.


Theoretically, the practice of selling one’s physical matter is already legal. There is no dispute as to the ethics of compensating egg donors or sperm donors for receiving payment for their body parts. What is the difference with kidneys? Surely the surgery, recovery period and pre/post operative treatment will be much more invasive, but the compensation prices would obviously parallel the process. With the current technology and survival rate of transplantation surgery, one’s lifestyle and health will not be jeopardized.


In matters of life and death, people are going to find a way of achieving the end they are looking for through legal means or not. Dialysis is not a viable option anymore when transplantation has such a higher success rate for longevity and lifestyle. Transplantation is a treatment; Dialysis is a means of surviving. By legalizing compensation of kidneys, the US would be providing the safest way for patients to receive proper care and treatment options. The US kidney shortage would essentially dissolve, as would the length of the wait list. What’s more, the questionable and saddening standards of age and movement of patients on the list for factors of status would not face ethical disputation. Most importantly, the process would maintain and assure the autonomy of all individuals involved.


[1] To be clear, I am not suggesting that compensation should be awarded for live donation of life-dependent organs such as hearts and lungs.


How Curious it Is

How curious it is

to expand the boundaries of your reign

by cementing walls.


Your words

slither in constant contortion,

Circling and stalking

your enclosure


A glimpse of a new wound

When you think your cries and beating wings

Have muddled my senses


And so you change your story


It is easy to stay up there, looming in the clouds

A threat

A presence


And yet…


How curious it is

That through your bullshit

you expect me to stay stagnant behind this pen you built?



I choose a different pen.


I come to you, a pilgrim
To bathe in the arms of my mother.
Her healing tears lap on your holy shores,
Only the littered water affirms my entrance to a land of loss.
The orange cloth rekindles my meditation
But I’m distracted by its filth, clouding your purity.
A tinkling chime calls my eye to the shining coat of a four-legged passerby
Yet my virgin hooves do not know your broken streets.
I look to my Father, his peaks in perfect reflection, mighty and unmoved.
Hoping, wishing, praying…
it starts to rain.

The Buzz about Bumble

via Daily Prompt: Bumble

The world of online dating offers its users a whole new meaning behind the notion of choice. The overwhelming ability to swipe anytime and anywhere to a new pool of potential daters is a double-edged sword: how much are you really willing to invest in a conversation or first date, when there are so many other options quite literally buzzing at your fingertips? With so many choices of applications themselves, what makes Bumble stand out?

Bumble was initially marketed as a feminist app- its unique feature being that a woman using the app must send the first message. Established in lieu of obscene, unsolicited and inappropriate messaging happening on apps predominately from male users to female users, this feature offers a woman the ability to screen and encourage conversation only with men she is actually interested in pursuing. She, for once, is the relationship navigator and instigator, as opposed to the quiet girl at the bar just waiting to be approached. For many, this also made the app feel as if it were a safe space to find a mate as opposed to a degrading message, which is great. However, the implications are that the ability for a woman to start a conversation with and/or ask out a man at all were something to be overcome with a dating app? In 2014? Not so great. Furthermore, this raises the question of how same sex couples could communicate on the app if at all?

There is also the question of legitimacy with online dating. It is mind-blowing that given its prevalence, online dating is often still considered taboo. The irony exists in the fact that online apps use whatever communicative mechanisms are available to mask the fact that they are online apps. How are users supposed to be confident in the new frontier of dating when the apps themselves are hiding the fact that they are online apps?! In reality, the basic function of the app is no different than how an exchange would play out in real life: you are confronted with a person you find attractive and you start a conversation. Of course, there are those who market incorrect information and photos about themselves, and this can be frightening.

Apps such as Bumble do their best to combat false identity by offering their users information about other users by displaying connections. I.e., if you sign up through Facebook, Bumble will alert you of the mutual Facebook friends you share with the face on your screen. For this reason, Bumble users feel safer knowing they are looking at “friends of friends.” It makes them feel legitimate. It also implies that they are already a part of your greater social network, and that better mimics the idea that maybe you would have, someday, by chance, met them in real life.

Because of the variety of dating society encourages, apps follow suit in holding various reputations. Bumble is often understood as being the safe and legitimate dating app for those actually seeking a relationship whereas apps such as tinder have the reputation of the place to find your latest hookup. In short, online dating is just as unclear and trepidatious as dating in real life. There will be ups and downs, amazing first dates and heart breaks.

Whatever app you use for online dating, I urge you to be wary of its rhetoric. If you pay close attention, it is clear that the language used by online dating applications is completely game-oriented. it’s a match! Start a conversation or Keep playing” If this is your expectation, then great! Keep playing. However, if you are on the app to actually dip your toe into the dating pool to find someone special, exercise caution and make your intentions known from the get go– you don’t want to wade too deep into what you called your greatest romance before your soulmate called you just a friend.