2 Indonesians who were involved in the recently publicised kidney-for-sale racket had been officially charged, jailed and fined. While the news seemed a little hazy, but this has implications on sale of organs. Mr Wang Says So (yes, my fellow competitor in the OMY.SG blog awards) provided a rather in-depth personal perspective (despite him being really humble about it) on this issue a few days ago – on whether organ sale should be legalised.

Personally, I feel that organ sale is already taking place when Singaporeans travel to other countries to get their organs transplanted – although I understand that there’s a fair bit of hassle which may be easily circumvented. The repercussions of this is of course on the “quality” of the transplant, and if there is any high risk of the receiver getting secondary infections from the operation. The other issue is of course care of the donor after the operation has taken place – which the receiver will usually take care of as part of a “package”.

As the surgery takes place overseas, Singapore may totally displace itself from the equation by stating that it is happening out of its jurisdiction. The next question that comes to mind is whether organ sale only for the rich? Outright, it does seem to be the case; and if such sale were to be legit, then does this affect the number of willing donors now that the latter know that they can possibly fetch a handsome sum?

It’s a Pandora’s Box.  I feel that Singapore is currently not ready to move into organ sale because of the various implications that will surface. Remember that there’s a Singapore Human Organs Transplant Act (HOTA) where Singaporeans have to opt out if they are unwilling to have their organs harvested upon death? If organ sale is legit, then will we end up having more people opting out of HOTA – resulting in a possible reduction in donors upon death and possibly an auction-style sale of their organs in times of monetary need?

While I agree with Mr Wang Says So to a certain extent that regulation may be a good solution (just like prostitution and gambling), what we should be looking into should be the overall effects that legalised organ sale will bring about, rather than just regulating the sale and possibly restricting organ receipt to only the rich and influential. Thus, I may support organ sale, but only if the welfare of the poor (on the organ receipt waiting list) can be looked into at the same time. Only through such means will opportunities be present for both the rich and poor.

Of course, this is just a broad perspective of things. Like Mr Wang Says So, there are many fine points that have to be looked into for a holistic solution.

Kidney-for-sale racket : Indon duo jailed and fined

By Elena Chong, Courts Correspondent

TWO Indonesian men who are the first to be prosecuted for a kidney-for-sale case were jailed and fined on Thursday.

Sulaiman Damanik, 26, who had earlier admitted to entering into an arrangement with Wang Chin Sing to sell his kidney to CK Tang’s executive chairman Tang Wee Sung for about 150 million rupiah (S$23,700) last month, was jailed for two weeks and fined $1,000.

He also admitted to falsely declaring that no money was paid and that Mr Tang’s niece’s brother-in-law married his aunt.

The operation did not go through as the authorities stepped in after the transplant ethics committee had approved the application for a live kidney transplant based on the false information given.

The other Indonesian, Toni, 27, who acted as a liaison man between Sulaiman and Mr Tang, was jailed three months and two weeks, and also fined $2,000.

His kidney was successfully transplanted into Ms Juliana Soh who paid him 186 million rupiah (S$29,390) in March.

He was to have been paid 20 million rupiah (about S$3,200) for being a ‘runner’ if Sulaiman’s operation was successful.

The other two offences he pleaded guilty to were for selling his kidney to Ms Soh and making a false statutory declaration that no money was paid and that Ms Soh was his adopted mother.

Source: Straits Times Interactive, http://www.straitstimes.com/Latest%2BNews/Courts%2Band%2BCrime/STIStory_254226.html

Article extracted on 3rd July 2008

Reader's Comments

  1. ricE | July 4th, 2008 at 1:58 pm

    Economics have long solved this issue. The freaks did it here: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/09/magazine/09wwln_freak.html?_r=1&n=Top%2fFeatures%2fMagazine%2fColumns%2fFreakonomics&oref=slogin

    Gary Becker on a potential market for organs is here: http://home.uchicago.edu/~gbecker/MarketforLiveandCadavericOrganDonations_Becker_Elias.pdf

    A firm believer in consumer choice — an individual’s utility and society’s economic welfare are maximized if people are free to buy whatever they want (so long as others are not forced to sell it to them). Of course, buyers can be stupid and sellers unscrupulous. Are we ready?

  2. Onlooker | July 4th, 2008 at 7:29 pm

    No because that would mean that Organ harvesting will hit us.
    If that happen, expect to see recently dead raided for organs and healthy individuals harm or murdered to harvest such organs as it is happening now in India and China Rural area.
    Just see the influx of (get rich quick) FTs here and you will see. Harbour no delusions, most of them are here for the money and conscience and ethics are not worth anything to them just see those who come with fake qualifications. Kidnapping will also become rampant. So no.

  3. not-john | July 7th, 2008 at 10:44 am

    I am against organ selling.
    The quick sentencing of the two indonesian clearly indicate that the rich is treat differently from the poor in the eyes of the law.
    Anyone remember a movie about clone being used as spare parts for their donor in case of an organ failure. They do not know anything about the outside world, they leave in their own world.
    By legalising organ trading, are we encouraging people to go into this type of organisation as the movie protray?
    At this moment, cloning may still be “unachievable” but what is stopping enterprise to come up with similar solution like you donated your sperm, we create a test tube baby for you and grow them in a separate colony deprived of any knowledge of the outside world, when the time come where you need a spare parts, we harvest it for you.
    By sticking to the present stringent regulation with organ donor and maybe making it more stringent, we will diminished any hope of enterprise setting up such “human farm”
    Having consenting sex with a minor is a criminal offence because the minor is deem to be too young to know what she is consenting to. consenting sales of an organ from the poor, uneducated should be view as the same logic because the poor, uneducated do not know what they are consenting or not for the right reasons (they are forced either by some criminal or by their financial status).
    The law should protect these people from being exploited.
    There are things which money can do, if the suitable organ is found (this can be through many means like blood bank datas, hospital datas (if you are willing to pay, I believe in certain countries, these datas can be obtained),the buyer can set up trap to motivate the seller to part with his organ like loaning him money, etc..
    Many type of persuasion method can be used by buyer to get what he wants.
    The law cannot stop this process, we can only stop “the transplant” – by doing that, we prevent all the above because what is the point of doing all the above when you can unsure if the transplant will be approved.
    This is the best check and we should stick to it.
    I may not be as rich as Tang, but I definite can afford to pay for all my organ is time arise.
    I am against it not because I do not need it but because we cannot create a “demand” for criminal activities.
    Once the “door” to “hell” is open, it will not closed.
    Hopefully all of us still have a “human” heart to agree with me.

    Editor: Comment has been edited for content

  4. heiko | November 8th, 2008 at 9:41 pm

    I’m a 36 years old man from Germany and I want to offer my kidney
    I don’t smoke, drink alcohol or take any drugs.
    I don’t have any sicknesses.
    I live very healthy. I eat healthy food, do sports, have no really stress and sleep every night 8 hours.
    my blood is 0
    Available now.
    Contact me at: boyheiko@googlemail.com

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