COMMENTARY | At the beginning of this month, three judges overruled a law banning compensation for organ transplants to no longer include bone marrow. This new law will now allow bone marrow donors to receive monetary compensation for bone marrow donations, and I fully agree the court’s decision was justified. I signed up nearly two years ago with BetheMatch.org to become a bone marrow donor; however, I was a part of a small percentile of people who actively become a donor. Compared to blood donors, bone marrow donors are very few with no more than a few thousand new donors a years. In order to increase numbers and help the thousands of people that die every year without a bone marrow donation, I fully agree that it is a solution to help increase awareness of the need for bone marrow and save more lives.
People have been receiving monetary compensation for blood platelets and blood plasma for years; thus, compensation for bone marrow donations is no different.. Like blood platelets, bone marrow is not an actual organ but is a byproduct of blood and is manufactured from flat bones such as the hips and long bones such as the femur. Unlike organs, bone marrow donation process called apheresis is a very low-risk procedure and does not drastically change a donor’s life. If I donate blood marrow, I can be back on my feet in a day or two with very low-risk complications. If I donated a kidney, my life would be drastically changed, and recovery could take months with very high-risk complications. Unlike organ donation, bone marrow replenishes in a matter of week, so a donor does not even lose a body resource for long.
In a dragging economy like we are in now, many people cannot afford to take the time to take off of work or school to even is able to give bone marrow; thus, the donor numbers will continue to dwindle, and people will continue to die. If an organization like MoreMarrowDonors.org wishes to award donors with scholarships or housing payments for donations, they should be within their rights to give compensations to help the donors who are willing to take time to try and save someone’s life. As a college student, scholarships to help defray the costs of school in a sluggish economy in exchange for my time are a fair compensation. As a donor, I will have to take the time off of work in order to travel to the bone marrow sight and for recovery time. Unfortunately, today is a world where time is money.
Cons against this new law are that people will lie about their health and diseases in order to earn money by becoming a donor. Like blood donations, bone marrow donors are tested for a number of diseases that could endanger a recipient, so I don’t see this as a complete legitimate source to discourage the new law. However, I do agree that the world is not ready to go to the extremes to pay for organs such as hearts, livers, or lungs. Organ donation is still too risky and would cause more problems than it would solve. For now, bone marrow compensation is an easy solution to helping find the much needed donors for cancer patients and people with blood diseases.