The money behind organs & tissues

A common thread throughout our Donor Dilemma series has been that survivors do not like to think about the money that follows their gift of organs and tissues. A Virginia surgeon whose son died and became a tissue donor told us he didn’t want to make any money from it — but he didn’t want anyone else making money either. This latest story, with Luis Fabregas, looks at the tissue side of donation…

Beenie and George Smith of Greensburg lost their only child, Megan, in a car accident in October 2001. They donated her body for organs and tissue recovery.

Beenie and George Smith of Greensburg lost their only child, Megan, in a car accident in October 2001. They donated her body for organs and tissue recovery.

Companies worldwide cash in on a $2 billion-a-year trade in human skin, bones and other tissues obtained for free from deceased donors and later sold, and resold, at a premium.

Compared with vital organs such as hearts, kidneys and livers, these body parts can be major moneymakers for nonprofits and businesses. About half of the sales come from the United States.

“Most people don’t realize this industry is explicitly profit-driven and it’s explicitly commercialized,” said Michele B. Goodwin, a law professor at the University of Minnesota who teaches bioethics and studies the trade of body parts.

Beenie and George Smith of Greensburg said they had no idea… To read the entire story, click here.

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