What Would You Do to Save Your Child’s Life?
When accidents happen and kill people, it’s a tragedy. But when Congress creates the equivalent of a legislative accident that kills people, it’s an outrage. Every single year, between 2,000 and 3,000 Americans die after failing to find a matching donor for bone marrow. One reason is that a 1984 law — the National Organ Transplant Act (NOTA) — bans people from being compensated for donating bone marrow. The ban is nonsensical. The law makes it legal to compensate someone for giving blood, sperm, eggs, or other “renewable tissues” while prohibiting compensation for nonrenewable organs such as kidneys. At the last minute, a ban on compensating bone-marrow donors was thrown in, probably because it sounded like it involved an organ. But bone marrow — like blood plasma — is renewable, meaning donors ultimately lose nothing but their time. Bone marrow is the only renewable tissue for which compensation is banned.
This is a problem for the 20,000 Americans who contract leukemia or other blood diseases treatable with bone marrow annually, and face big hurdles in finding a genetic match to begin with.