Want to Be a Living Organ Donor? Here Are Your Options

By Allison Bond | July 27, 2009 1:02 pm

eyeWhether you’re looking to make some cash or give someone another lease on life, living organ donation may be an option for you. While you likely already know that you can donate blood and one of your kidneys, it turns out you can put quite a few other body parts on the market as well, as Newsweek reports. Here’s a sample of the other items listed in the article:

Eyes: Whole eyes cannot be transplanted. But individual components of the eye—namely the lens and the cornea—can.

Intestine: It’s possible, but the risks are so great and the need so rare that intestine donations almost always come from deceased donors.

Pancreas: Another organ of which you can donate a segment. Pancreas transplants are often done to improve quality of life (by reducing or eliminating the need for constant insulin injections in diabetics, for example).

The article also compares the price a kidney fetches in various places around the world. In the U.S., they’re worth an average of $30,000 (albeit on the black market—selling organs is strictly illegal here). But in India, you’d only get $1,500 for that same kidney. Which mirrors the rest of the relationship between U.S. and Indian health care—same care, drastically different price tag.

Related Content:
Discoblog: Will Receiving a Transplant Organ from a Murderer Make You Evil?
Discoblog: Need a New Pancreas? It May Come From a Sheep
Discoblog: Doctors Remove Implanted Heart After Original Heart Heals

Image: flickr / Look Into My Eyes

  • Sharon McEachern

    It doesn’t make any difference how much a kidney costs. If you are a girl, your chances of getting on the Kidney Transplantation List is less than if you are a little boy. The same fact goes for old women versus old men — the old men get on the list faster.

    No, there is no medical reason. It’s life-and-death sexism. Males are still thought to be more worthy than females. This is insane!

    Research shows that women do just as good and sometimes better tha men when receiving kidney transplants. Actually, the gender bias should favor women using findings of medical research. It points out the discrimination even stronger. Ethic Soup has an excellent article on this topic at:


  • David J Undis

    Your story about Organ Donation highlighted the tragic shortage of human organs for transplant operations.

    Over half of the 100,000 Americans on the national transplant waiting list will die before they get a transplant. Most of these deaths are needless. Americans bury or cremate 20,000 transplantable organs every year.

    There is a simple way to put a big dent in the organ shortage – give donated organs first to people who have agreed to donate their own organs when they die.

    Giving organs first to organ donors will convince more people to register as organ donors. It will also make the organ allocation system fairer. People who aren’t willing to share the gift of life should go to the back of the waiting list as long as there is a shortage of organs.

    Anyone who wants to donate their organs to others who have agreed to donate theirs can join LifeSharers. LifeSharers is a non-profit network of organ donors who agree to offer their organs first to other organ donors when they die. Membership is free at http://www.lifesharers.org or by calling 1-888-ORGAN88. There is no age limit, parents can enroll their minor children, and no one is excluded due to any pre-existing medical condition. LifeSharers has over 12,000 members at this writing, including 714 members in New York.

    Please contact me – Dave Undis, Executive Director of LifeSharers – if your readers would like to learn more about our innovative approach to increasing the number of organ donors. I can arrange interviews with some of our local members if you’re interested. My email address is daveundis@lifesharers.org. My phone number is 615-351-8622.

  • Conrad

    The effort to convince more people to donate their organs is great. But LifeSharers completely misses the point of this gift. “Gift” implies no reciprocity. When one truly gives, as one does with his or her organs, she should expect NOTHING in return. Not even gratitude. That’s the idea of a gift.

    The premise behind LifeSharers is remarkably selfish and, as a man of faith, it offends my sense of morality and aspirations for a Christian life.

    All whose faith and morality allows should be organ donors, and should be urged to do so. But to commit such a “gift” first to those who have offered their own organs ignores so many practical and philosophical realities as to reduce this gift to the likes of a smoke-filled room agreement. You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.

    What about those who CANNOT (or even misunderstand that they cannot) donate their organs because they are all too weakened or sickened by their condition? Are they less deserving?

    What about children whose parents have not signed them up as organ donors but, given the circumstances their parents would willingly donate their organs? Those children awaiting a transplant themselves are then put to the back of the line because they have not previously registered? That’s sick, wrong, and selfish.

    What LifeSharers offers is a shell that is no more than self-righteousness that cannot withstand scrutiny.

  • michael hadfield

    i understand that it is illigal to sell an organ . what about facts suchas a poor person could use a car or a house so a beneficial donation echange is performed.they both have a need and them needs are satisfied thru donations. why is that not legal.

  • Luki

    I have decided to make a living donor organ donation. I am already on the “harvest all you can get” list for after I’m dead. I’m going to donate one kidney and one lobe of my liver. That said …
    I’d like my recipient to be “seriously worthy” — In my sole opinion. What might that mean? Well – young enough to have a long life afterwards – let’s say 8-25. Why 8? Old enough for me (and me alone) to assess probability that this person has the physical capacity for a life of extreme and passionate participation in what I (and I alone) choose to call the “Adventure of Life in the Universe”. That means strong and very, very smart. Sorry but it’s all my call – my organs you know. Why 25? If you’re not well on the path by this time … well, too bad. Parents’ demonstrated accomplishments/contributions in life-so-far will be a seriously major factor. The acorns don’t fall far from the forest … or have I gotten that confused — well, brain lobe donation is out of the question so it doesn’t really matter.
    There is one seriously odd requirement. Non-negotiable – I’ve promised this to my own 3 children so there is NO discussion. Requirement: the recipient(s) MUST be willing and able to learn and then continue to ski in the STYLE I teach them (which is a kick). They can (and should) do whatever the hell else they feel like doing, even (god forbid) snowboarding, but they simply MUST learn and do my style.
    Oh, yeah, facts of life: my contined health and well-being must be assured and paid for. Not the organ(s) mind you but all of the concomitant expenses. This is only fair.
    Anyone knowing of qualified recipients (did you read the above?) should contact me (light1477@gmail.com) or contact my agent (Ray Vanch – 303-269-1477 – you MUST specifically ask for Ray without being prompt – when the phone stops ringing immediately ask for Ray. Ummm – if you have trouble following this instruction give up or get someone else to do it – life is just tooFNshort to screw around.).
    Any questions

  • Luki

    (I hate posting things with errors – sigh – but I can’t stop being human just yet.)

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