BRITISH MEDICAL JOURNAL STORY CAUSES OUTRAGE AMONG GRADUATES
Cash-strapped university graduates should be free to sell their kidneys in order to pay off their student debt, it has been suggested. And no, this isn’t a joke.
In an article for the British Medical Journal’s website bmj.com, Sue Rabbitt Roff, a researcher at Dundee University, said it was time to “explore” kidney donors being paid £28,000 – the average UK salary – as an “incentive”. She said:
“It would be an incentive across most income levels for those who wanted to do a kind deed and make enough money to, for instance, pay off university loans.
Mrs Roff, senior research fellow at the university’s Department of Medical Sociology, later told The Scotsman:
“We are allowing young people to undertake £20,000 to £30,000 of university fee payments.
“We allow them to burden themselves with these debts. Why can’t we allow them to do a very kind and generous thing but also meet their own needs?”
It is currently illegal to pay for organs for transplantation under the Human Tissue Act (2004). The act also makes it an offence to attempt to buy or sell organs for transplant. The only country where this is legal is Iran.
Robin Parker, president of NUS Scotland slammed the idea, saying:
“Although the lack of available kidneys for transplant is truly tragic given the need, it’s ludicrous to suggest that selling body parts is a viable solution to alleviating student poverty.
“Young people, particularly from disadvantaged backgrounds, are already being asked to take on huge debt to afford an education. They shouldn’t be expected to remove a body part as well.”
The British Medical Association (BMA) said it would not support cash being paid for organs. Dr Tony Calland, chairman of the BMA’s medical ethics committee, said:
“Organ donation should be altruistic and based on clinical need. Living kidney donation carries a small but significant health risk.
“Introducing payment could lead to donors feeling compelled to take these risks, contrary to their better judgement, because of their financial situation.”
*Would you donate a kidney to have your student debt wiped?
Or is the idea abhorrent? Are you alarmed by the suggestion that cash-strapped graduates should be viewed as potential organ farms?