Mandatory Organ Donation in Australia
Should Organ Donation be mandatory in Australia ?
In 2012, 354 organ donors gave 1,052 Australians a new chance in life. While this is a moderately satisfying data, considering the fact that around 1600 people are in the waiting list for a transplant; more needs to be done. Australia has a very high consent rate of around 80% willing donors. But in terms of effective organ donors, the statistics confirm a figure of 14.9 donors per million. Comparing with the global average, we are somewhere in the middle. Around 1% of people, who have consented to donate their organs die in the hospital, which make it difficult for executing the transfer of organ. As per the Australian system, the family of the deceased play a larger role, as they are asked to confirm the donation wishes of the deceased before the donation can proceed. Around 45% of the families refuse to go ahead with the wishes of the deceased.
Australia currently has an opt-in system where one choose whether to be a donor or not. Countries with opt- out systems have greater percentage of organ donors, but the effective number of organ donors, nearly equal or less than what we have in Australia. Family of the deceased’s reluctance to donate and the absence of circumstance for removing the organs for transplant at the time of death are the reasons behind the low effective donor rates. Moving to an Opt-out system may not effectively benefit Australia.
The cons of mandatory organ donation
The quality of care for a potential donor at the end of his life may be compromised based on type of organs that will be donated.
Corruption and favouritism may creep into Australian medical system and this is a definite possibility. Many medical professionals may get involved in organ harvesting rather than caring for the patients as the former will become more lucrative. Australia at the moment has strict ethical guidelines for organ transfers.
Government owning the body of its citizens may reduce the organ transplant waiting list, but it will open up bigger social dilemmas for Australian citizens. How much control Government can have on its citizens?
What Policies we need to reduce the Organs transplant waiting list?
Introducing more policies will only help us land in a courtyard of junk policies. To increase the number of effective donors, the best way forward is to educate the general public. There is a strong need to start this mental conditioning right from the school years.
Monitoring the process
Whatever may be the policies we are going to implement to increase the effective rate of donors, one area that requires constant attention is the guidelines for procuring and transplanting organs. There should not be any let down in the current strict codes for procuring and transplanting human organs and there is a strong case for making the monitoring process even more efficient to prevent corrupt elements sneaking in.
Demand for cheap human organs has increased in developed nations. The success rate of transplant being the main reason coupled with stricter laws in developed countries turned the attention to third world countries, which led to “transplant tourism”. The life style factors have already made the populace of developed countries obese and organ failures are only an expected side effect.
The black market for human organs is illegal and immoral and thrives on exploiting the poor people. There should be global co-operation to address this problem and considering a global legalised market for Human Organs may the way to look forward. The advantage being the elimination of the exploiter and the exploited.