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Davis, California

Thursday, February 22, 2024

Editorial: Bone marrow transplants

A 2001 MIT study showed bone marrow transplant donors have only a one in 20,000 chance of being matched with a stranger.

There’s a way to significantly increase these odds, and doing away with an outdated policy is all it would take.

In 1984, the National Organ Transplant Act banned donors from receiving compensation. If an individual is somehow compensated for donating, he or she could face a maximum penalty of five years in prison.

This doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Fortunately, someone is doing something about it.

In the case of Flynn vs. Holder, the Institute of Justice challenges the NOTA compensation ban on behalf of organizations such as BoneMarrowDonors.org.

If the institute wins its case, then BoneMarrowDonors.org will be permitted to compensate donors with $3,000 scholarships for college students, housing allowances or a gift to the donor’s charity of choice.

Sure, some will continue donating marrow just because they’re good people – especially if a close friend or family member is the one in need of a transplant.

The motivation to put yourself through a painful, invasive procedure for a random stranger, however, is significantly lower. It only makes sense for BoneMarrowDonors.org to compensate donors if sufficient funds are available.

Some fear a black market similar to the one surrounding organ donors could develop if people are compensated for donating bone marrow.

This is different, though. Lungs don’t grow back. Your gallbladder won’t, either.

Bone marrow regenerates itself. So share the wealth. There’s nothing wrong with getting paid to save a life.


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