11/08/16 – Bone Marrow Donors

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About 3,000 people will die this year awaiting an acceptable bone marrow donor.

Here’s what’s happening behind the headlines.

This year, about 60,000 Americans including three-and-a-half thousand children will contract leukemia.  It’s the most common cancer for kids.  About half the adults and one-fifth of the children won’t survive.

About three-quarters of whites will find a matching donor.  It’s less than half for Asians and Hispanics.  Only a quarter for blacks.

There aren’t enough donors in the national registry.  Especially minorities.  But a simple change in federal law could save thousands of lives each year.

A thirty-year old law prohibits the sale of organs.  Most people view the practice as barbaric.  And ripe for abuse.  Bone marrow sales is included in this prohibition.

But bone marrow is not an organ.  It’s a renewable tissue.  Just like blood, sperm and eggs.  And people are permitted to sell those.

Donating marrow takes time.  It requires a hospital stay. And anesthesia.  There may be lingering discomfort and even pain.  Not enough people volunteer do it.

But if people could be compensated for their trouble then perhaps more would become donors.  Saving more lives.

It’s time to change the law.

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