Should Kidney Donors Be Paid?

To the Editor:

Re “We Should Be Allowed to Sell Our Kidneys,” by Dylan Walsh (Opinion guest essay, April 4):

I’ve seen firsthand how kidney transplants can transform the lives of patients living with debilitating renal disease who are often forced to spend hours each week in painful and exhausting dialysis treatments. Mr. Walsh is correct that we need to greatly boost the number of living organ donors. But before we consider paying people for their kidneys, we need to ensure that every potential donor has an equitable chance to also receive a lifesaving organ transplant.

Even though undocumented people can and do donate organs, far too many of the undocumented, Black and low-income clients we serve with severe renal disease are unable to receive treatment at transplant centers run by private hospitals, despite many of them being excellent medical candidates for a successful transplant.

It would be grossly unethical for our government to encourage them to sell their organs when they receive far less than an equitable share of needed organs.

There are many steps the federal and state governments can take to gather data on transplant equity and require tax-exempt health systems to provide fair and equitable access to transplant care, regardless of immigration or insurance status, income or race. We must create a fair system before we consider a market for organs.

Karina Albistegui Adler
New York
The writer is co-director of health justice for New York Lawyers for the Public Interest.

To the Editor:

As president of the American Society of Transplantation, I know there is an extreme need for additional organs to support lifesaving organ transplantation. Dylan Walsh aptly describes the challenge.

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