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Neo-cannibalism

Ethics of Organ donation, blood/plasma/bone marrow donation and surrogacy.

Death is always shocking. Irrespective of age. But death of a young person, in United States is news, not just nationally, but internationally. In countries, where generations of people did not migrate to squat and settle at new lands, problem of over population prevents every death from becoming a news especially when an element of consent can be attached. India and Russia appears to be surrogacy capitals of the world. Organ donation, blood/plasma/bone marrow donation, surrogacy, Sperm/egg donation and what not. The rotation of activities of life are not around living but achieving, becoming or accumulating. Surviving as long as possible can only be next goal and what better use of money can be to buy life even if at the cost of someone else’s life.

Poverty and poor medical conditions

In Indian traditions, motherhood is hailed as reincarnation. A successful delivery of child is treated as rebirth for mother. But that story is for financially comfortable. Poor will sell anything to taste better life and rich will buy anything without hindered by scruples. The recent death of a 30-year-old Indian surrogate mother with two children ought to have given a pause to ponder over the ethics of the international surrogacy market. but so far nothing visible on horizon.

Organ donation is similar story but legally there is a ban on commercial sale of organs. In a recent case Delhi High Court chose to ignore possible past commercial relations between donor and recipient. It observed:

“Merely because in a given case, a near relative may not be willing to donate his or her organ/tissue to the recipient, it is not ground to either raise suspicion of a commercial transaction, or to reject the case altogether. It is not the mandate of the authorization committee to compel or drive the near relative of the recipient to donate their organ/tissue to the recipient ….. the term “payment” under the Transplantation of Human Organ and Tissues Act would not cover a monetary transaction between a donor and recipient in the past when such a transplant was not required….. (Source: http://www.indianexpress.com/news/Love–affection-of-distant-kin-good-enough-for-donation-of-organs–HC/949872/

Only UK has a potential customers of commercial surrogacy worth six billion as reflected from following article:

A combination of the high costs of such surrogacy in the UK, the extremely limited number of willing surrogates, and the legal restrictions on commercial surrogacy in the UK has helped to create a global market in international surrogacy worth, on one recent estimate, about six billion dollars annually. Unlike international adoption, which is subject to strict regulation both in the United Kingdom and abroad, international surrogacy is entirely unregulated at an international level. Certain countries such as India and the Ukraine promote themselves as destinations for gestational surrogacy by providing good quality low cost medical care and by giving legal protection to commissioning parents. (Source: http://www.familylawweek.co.uk/site.aspx?i=ed97868)

How poor surrogate mothers are treated in these clinics, is reflected from the following article:

Even though the growth of surrogacy in India is a familiar story, too little is known about how the system actually operates. ………. Even if these people have put their signatures on a piece of paper, has there really been informed consent? One of the consent documents says that the hospital involved has “made sure to the extent humanly possible that he / she / they understand these details and implications”. This does not inspire a lot of confidence. (Source: http://catholicexchange.com/who-cares-indian-surrogate-for-u-s-woman-dies/)

Position about are donor-ships related to bio-organs is no different. so the rich would be consuming the poor with impunity and color of skin would not be a matter of consideration, for a change. Situation is, actually, ‘grotesquely exploitative’. Is it not a new kind of cannibalism. If not, what is it? Just because it has no name, it does not become ethical.

© Sandeep Bhalla

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