Back To What Can Be Bought Or Sold

There’s a recent discussion here about whether sperm can be/should be/is bought/sold in the process of ART.   You could connect this back to earlier discussions of commodification and markets.   And while I’m doing quick updates (see the last post), I figured I’d do one on the commodification thread, too.

That older post on commodification I linked to was about paying people to provide (donate?) bone marrow.     This story, which picks up on that,  is on MSNBC today and will be on TV tomorrow night.

Doreen Flynn has three daughters who will need bone marrow transplants.   She’s the lead plaintiff in the case I discussed last time.   

Her argument is that paying for bone marrow isn’t like paying for organs.  (No one is challenging the ban on payment for organs in this case.    The idea here is that bone marrow regenerates rapidly.   It can also be harvested with relatively safety via blood donations.   (Of course, you can say the same two things about sperm, right?)  If we offered modest compensation, more people would agree to be donors and that would be a good thing.

Of course there are two sides to this argument and the opposition is presented as well.   If people are motivated by altruism they are more likely to be truthful.    We’d be outliers in the world (though I suppose some might call us “leaders.”)   And not everything should have a price and be bought and sold.   (Again, you could make the same points about sperm, couldn’t you?)

It might be worth having a look at the TV coverage.   Remember that Flynn prevailed in front of the Ninth Circuit panel.  Absent review by the US Supreme Court or the full Ninth Circuit (and I don’t know if the time for that has passed), it would seem to me that offering money for bone marrow will be permitted in the western US before too long.


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