In The Atlantic, Souree Lam details the pros and cons of such an initiative. Underneath the ethical issues is the reality that 78,000 are on the list for a kidney transplant. They can expect the wait to last almost five years. A good public relations firm can unleash a campaign highlighting their plight, especially the emotional burden on the family.
Well, I have personal experience with the option to sell a kidney. In 2003, my once wildly successful executive communications business had collapsed, my nest egg was gone, debt was six figures and the wiring in my brain had frayed. I considered locating an underground network to sell a kidney. Yes, I was willing to travel abroad for a deal.
My luck began to change, though. So I put that plan on the shelf. But I didn't forget it. After I began this blog in April 2005, I posted on my mindset back in 2003 and how I could still use the money. But, I added, that since I was no longer on a downward trajectory I probably wouldn't pursue the idea. However, it hadn't been ruled out.
Emails and calls came in. The experience was soul-wrenching - worse than my own brush with bankruptcy. Those contacting me wanted my opinion about if they should try to find a buyer for their kidney. Yes, they were desperate. Not only financially. They were also unable to put together any plan, scheme or dream to exit their plights.
I listened. I tried to help some cook up other ways out of their financial mess. I grew up in an underground-economy culture so I knew that ins and outs. For a few I edited their resume and cover letter.
The question then and now is: Sure, selling a kidney can represent being exploited but shouldn't the option be available? In the first few crazy temp jobs and the early writing assignments I had in late 2003 and 2004, you bet, I was exploited. But, at the time, I couldn't figure out any other way to start the journey back to financial and emotional stability.
Currently, good luck continues. But it would be reckless to not keep in mind what I have to sell, should desperate times return. My preference would be to sell it on a regulated market.