Should We Favor the Young With Organ Donations?

When we think about life, sometimes we think it’s better to lean towards the young. This especially seems to be a favorite when it comes to organ donating. Youth have full days ahead, and so much to contribute. Give them a full chance. Those who are older have already had a good term.  The younger are brimming with energy and opportunity. They can make our world better, so we say.

A case in point is about organ rationing, as pointed out in a recent article on the Economist which covered that younger potential recipients are favored.  But they then point out:

“A broader question is whether organ donations should favor the young. The share of total organ recipients aged 50 and older has jumped from 28% in 1988 to 60% last year. The rise has been even more dramatic for those 65 and older—the share jumped from 2% to 17%. These figures may rise further as the baby-boomers age.”

The Unenviable Task of Rationing Organs

This article made me pause.  It’s pointing to the fact that the average age and lifespan of each individual, is much, much longer. In fact the most recent record of age is a Japanese man who died last month, at age 116, from natural causes.

Even that is not enough to sway us.  Think about a precious parent, a beloved aunt, a treasured grandmother….have they really lived long enough?

Doth youth usurp their wisdom?

Does new energy trump experience?

Can a babe replace a cherished mentor?

Favoring organs to the young isn’t reasoning that necessarily works.  Every person is valued. Everyone has an equal abundance of love to give. Before we make a judgment call of in general which group should be served most, let’s first think of an individual in our lives. I think we will agree that age withstanding, young or old, we all cherish life.  Each individual is beautiful and deserving.


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