If We Pay Football Players, Why Not Kidney Donors?
UVA Law Faculty Affiliations
Ethicists who oppose compensating kidney donors claim they do so because kidney donation is risky for the donor’s health, donors may not appreciate the risks and may be cognitively biased in other ways, and donors may come from disadvantaged groups and thus could be exploited. However, few ethical qualms are raised about professional football players, who face much greater health risks than kidney donors, have much less counseling and screening concerning that risk, and who often come from racial and economic groups deemed disadvantaged. It thus seems that either ethicists—and the law—should ban both professional football and compensated organ donation, allow both, or allow compensated organ donation but prohibit professional football. The fact that we choose none of those options raises questions about the wisdom of the compensation ban.