Avid Editor's Insights

Selling Human Organs: A Recession Proof Industry

Posted by ghostofsparta on September 7, 2009

Crossposted from http://paranoidpyro8503.blogspot.com/2009/09/selling-human-organs-recession-proof.html

Over the past week, several stories have come out about how the world’s poor are coping with this worldwide recession. And in Iraq, the media have found a particularly interesting story to latch onto: Iraqis are selling body part, especially kidneys, to make money to support themselves and their families. With oil prices falling and the price of everything else rising in their country, many Iraqis see this as an easy way to make a decent amount of money quickly in rough economic times. In fact, there are even some success stories coming out about people who took such drastic measure to survive:

Paid almost $10,000 for his kidney, he spent the money on a Toyota car which he now uses as a private taxi.
“I have a chance to earn money now, before I had no such chance,” he said. “It’s not something I regret at all. I feel fine, my health is good, and I am earning better money for my family. Our circumstances are slowly improving.”

Of course, since these have to be sold on the black market, there are plenty of horror stories to go along with the success stories:

Not only is poverty forcing people to such desperate acts to survive, but there are street children being snatched up and forcible having a kidney removed by black market doctors. Even parents selling a kidney of their children for money.

This practice of abducting children for either organ harvesting or sex slavery or any other abhorrent practice in the 3rd world must stop, and those responsible should be shown no mercy.


I’m here to take what appears to be a pretty controversial posistion: Any adult should be able to sell his organs at any time for any reason. A lot of people object to this philosophy, and I can understand their objections. I think, however, that giving people the ability to pull themselves out of poverty via selling a kidney, a chunk of their liver, even their heart, would be a great way to help the downtrodden. And yes, I will explain.

Part of the reason that many organ donor lists are so long is simple: many recipients, not enough donors. The one list that the legal selling of organs would do wonders for is the kidney list. Most people have 2 healthy, functioning kidneys, and most healthy people can live on 1 kidney. If a man facing a mountain of debt and a layoff needs to feed his family, and somebody is willing to pay him $20k for his kidney, that would go a long way toward helping this hypothetical man claw his way out of crushing debt. And in a more cynical way, the same could be done with hearts/lungs/livers. A man dying of a disease or accident that hasn’t damamged any of his major organs, could even on his deathbed help his family in such a way. Yes, it’s a cold and jaded way to look at the world, but how many families that decline donating their loved one’s organs (for any number of legitmate reasons) would suddenly be more willing to let their deceased loved one be “harvested” for a couple thousand instead of letting perfectly good organs go to waste via enbalming or creamation? I mean it’s only a logical progression: if the government can’t tell a woman what to do with her body in regards to abortion, why should it be allowed to tell her what to do with regards to a kidney, finger, or spleen?

Yeah, this isn’t a pleasant subject to think about. And there are many people out there who disagree with me. And by all means, share your thoughts either way, letting me know why I’m right or why I’m a monster for thinking this way.

5 Responses to “Selling Human Organs: A Recession Proof Industry”

  1. You will burn my friend, does your Torah say its fine to hate others? Your god will burn you just you see. From a Christian brother.

  2. elyakatz said


    The end result of this idea is this: Poor people who refused to sell their kidneys would not be helped in other ways, because they hadn’t availed themselves of every possible recourse. This would only serve to further desensitise people to their responsibility to help their less fortunate brethren.

    I am only going by Torah values here. One isn’t permitted to sell parts of their body when they’re alive, and when one dies, one’s body reverts back to the ownership of G-d. I know some Torah scholar’s have ruled that donating organs is fine according to halacha. I see more harm coming from organ transplants than good. There are worse things than death, and one is the degrading of society…such as nabbing poor children and forcing them to give up a kidney.

  3. To the first poster: thank you sir for your completely nosensical statement that has nothing at all to do with the topic.

    El: I won’t refute your religious beliefs except to say that I am a Christian, and as such don’t study the Torah much. Of course, I also don’t study the New Testament as much as I should either, so take that for what it’s worth. I absolutely abhor a system that allows anybody to be kidnapped and have organs stolen, but I will say that I think (personal opinion) that making this a legitmate way to make money would less the black market for stolen organs. Is it a perfect system? No, not at all. I’m just throwing out ideas on how to make a bad sitution less bad.

    • elyakatz said


      What?!? You’re a Christian, thus you don’t study the Torah much?? I thought Christians considered the five books of Moses as their Scriptures too??

      All kidding aside, I’m no expert on this myself. I remember a rabbi who I once studied under saying we should not put our body parts up for sale. Recent halachic rulings in Israel seem to be well thought out, with part of the goal being to prevent abuse of the system.

      I’m not against a life being saved with modern science/organ transplants. No normal people want to see civilization (a fragile concept indeed) devolve into a maccabre market of kidneys, hearts and livers, alongside rich prison “masters” and their dead, dissected prisoners, subsequently returned (or not) to their families like so many bad science experiments.


      Then we have a new kind of slavery, with the underprivileged at increasing risk of being herded into captivity to satisfy the needs of the other half of the world, over indulged, bloated and in need of third world organs so they can go on to make their next million.

      Seems it has come to that in many parts of the world.

  4. Eric said

    I am willing to accept a good donation for my kidney or anything else I don’t need, Anyone in need of anything just email me at ericstephenson1@Hotmail.com

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