The Australian government is considering a big change for the way people donate organs in a bid to combat the rise in people buying organs on the black market.
The proposed change would see residents automatically registered as organ donors meaning anyone who does not want to participate would be forced to ‘opt-out’ by specifically stating that they don’t want to be a donor.
A report from the Human Organ Trafficking and Organ Transplant Tourism revealed that the current national demand for donors is much larger than the available supply of organs. As a result, more people are using the black market to find organs available for transplants.
As of September 2018, 1423 people were on the waiting list for an organ transplant in Australia, with 1003 of those people waiting for a kidney transplant.
Due to the high demand and lack of supply for some organs, unfortunately a number of people do not survive the waiting period.
According to the report, in desperate situations some people turn to the black market, where a kidney can be purchased from anywhere between $68,000 and $163,000.
“Desperate people, often facing end-stage renal disease and other grave conditions, may travel to distant countries and pay tens of thousands of dollars and more, for an organ transplant where the donor is poor, exploited or unable to give free and informed consent to donation,” said the report.
To combat this issue, the government has suggested an opt-out system, with some MPs also proposing that Australian laws be changed so that anyone who travels overseas for an illegal transplant can be charged when they reenter the country.
It was also suggested that medical professionals be forced by law to report any knowledge or reasonable suspicion that someone under their care has undergone an illegal organ transplant.
Under the current organ donation program in Australia, only one in three people are registered as donors and if nothing is done the black market organ trafficking will only continue to grow.
Seven out of the top 10 donating countries in the world have had an opt-out system in place, leading the Australian government to consider it as viable option.
Do you think an opt-out system is a good idea for organ donation in Australia? Let us know in the comments!