But what if somebody wants to sell an organ, not out of desperation but simply because he wants to? Perhaps selling an organ would help him pay off college debts or place a down payment on a home. If it is ethical to donate an organ to somebody in need, why isn’t it ethical to sell an organ to somebody in need? After all, organ trafficking exists precisely because not enough people are donating their organs. Could the free market play a role in fixing this problem?
Yes. In 2011, an article making the case was published in The Atlantic. It begins with a stark and sobering fact: “There are only about 20,000 kidneys every year for the approximately 80,000 patients on the waiting list. In 2008, nearly 5,000 died waiting.” But who doesn’t have a waiting list? Iran, that paragon of democracy and free market thinking.