Selling Organs in the Recession

Science, technology, and life.
May 17 2009 6:06 AM

Selling Organs in the Recession

Will the global recession push more people to sell their organs? Apparently, the answer is yes.

William Saletan William Saletan

Will Saletan writes about politics, science, technology, and other stuff for Slate. He’s the author of Bearing Right.

Here's the question as I posed it two months ago :

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You don't normally think of selling your body's parts or products. But bad times can make you think hard. One reason you might not have thought of selling something from your body is that the idea felt unnatural or somehow made you uncomfortable. But for $5,000, with bills to pay and no other income prospects, you decide you can get over those feelings . ... The next question is whether money can persuade you to donate not just a body product, but a body part.

And here's an initial answer , courtesy of Agence France Presse:

The economic crisis has forced dozens of "desperate" people in Spain to put their organs up for sale on the Internet, a consumers association said Tuesday. The association, FACUA, told Spanish authorities it has detected "31 announcements of organ sales" on 13 Internet sites by Spaniards and Latin American immigrants. "These are offers of kidneys, lungs and bone marrow, by persons who say they are going through economic difficulties and asking for sums ranging from 15,000 to one million euros (19,000 to 1.3 million dollars)," FACUA said.

The trend is all too logical: As the recession takes away the external assets of more and more people, they'll be forced to sell what's left .

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