What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Organ Transplants?

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Organ transplants may help save lives but may present moral dilemmas for families of donors. Healthy organ donors can save up to eight lives, giving needy patients a chance to live happier and healthier lives. Families, however, often do not get to participate in the recipient selection process and may object to candidate selection on religious or political grounds.

According to Emory Healthcare, approximately 115,000 patients wait to receive organs each year each year in the U.S., and many do receive organs they need in time to prevent death. For transplant recipients, the loss of one person’s life gives them a second chance at life. In addition to improving their quality of life, organ transplants may significantly reduce or eliminate the cost of expensive treatments and medicines previously necessary to keep patients alive. Therefore, transplants give recipients the opportunity to live normal lives. Additionally, families of donors often feel a sense of goodness stemming from a tragic loss, knowing their loved one helped to save lives. But organ donation may present problems too, primarily on religious, political and social grounds. Some families may object to organs going to recipients who belong to different faiths, subscribe to divergent political beliefs or belong to different socioeconomic classes than their own.