I hope the Soupers won't mind a bit of public philosophy! http://donationethics.com
Arguably, the jury is still out regarding the ethics of compensation for organ donation (and even more so for allowing organ purchase). Legally speaking, in the United States such compensation is outlawed under 1984's National Organ Transplant Act (NOTA). New technology has recently altered the relevant legal landscape. It is now possible to collect bone marrow stem cells for transplantation, not through the traditional, invasive procedure of inserting a needle into the donor's marrow itself, but by giving the donor a drug that stimulates and releases stem cells into the surrounding blood, where it can be collected through something akin to a traditional blood donation procedure ("aphoresis") . In Flynn v. Holder, it was ruled that given this procedure's similarity to blood and plasma donation, for which compensation is legal, NOTA does not apply. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is proposing an amendment to NOTA that would effectively prohibit compensation for donation through aphoresis. My friend and colleague, Peter Jaworski, has written an open letter (with input from myself and others) to HHS opposing this amendment. He, myself, and the others who signed the letter agree that there is no legitimate ethical basis for the amendment. Importantly, I think even many of those who are wary of compensation for organ donation generally should share this view. Most if not all of the ethical concerns that attach to (e.g.) kidney markets simply do not apply here.
Peter is inviting other ethicists to sign the letter. If you're interested, please check out the website (which I'm managing). If you'd like to add your name, you can contact Peter or myself. And, of course, comments are welcome, here or via email.