I am an organ donor. I have signed the little box on the back of my license, and have even sent the paperwork into my local borough. If anything happens to me, my internal organs are up for grabs for whoever needs them. I've never really thought about what that meant, before. But recently, in a bioethics class I'm taking, we discussed organ trafficking and organ donating. That got me thinking about this whole concept, of giving my organs to another person. And, more specifically, why it seems to taboo to sell your organs. In my class, we are working through a book on Muslim medical ethics. In one particular article, the black market of organs in Egypt was analyzed. Without going too much into Islam and the religious basis of the fatwas made, Muslim scholars generally agree that organ donation is permissible as long as the recipient will, without a doubt, benefit from the procedure, the donor remains unharmed, and the donor will receive no form of compensation for the donation.
That is the meat of the matter. In Muslim theology, paying for an organ is considered "forbidden" by most. And there are laws in many other countries making organ selling illegal. What is it about the money that makes organ selling so taboo, so wrong, theoretically? Of course, black markets exist globally, and it seems as if it is a fairly well-known fact that people do indeed buy organs if they have the means to circumvent the system and avoid waiting on long recipient lists. But the fact that the laws exist indicated that, although people will do what they deem necessary to survive, including the purchase of a needed organ, in theory, that very act is something that we thought it necessary to make illegal. There is something about getting money for a body part that makes us uncomfortable.