MatchingDonors.com is among the recent responses to a stark fact: Every year, about 6,000 people in critical need of a transplant die waiting for an organ.
Some celebrate such enterprises as creative, entrepreneurial responses to this deadly disparity.
Others see them very differently. Critics say they extend false hope to the most vulnerable. Ethicists call them everything from “naive” to “truly despicable.”
Either way, such edgy, controversial ventures intersect with the established organ-donation system at a common goal: the critical need to encourage people to donate their organs, before or after death.
Other proposed solutions in the past few years have ranged from modest — Wisconsin’s $10,000 tax deduction for living donors — to deeply controversial — payment for donated organs, now illegal under federal law.
About 84,000 people are waiting for kidneys, livers, pancreas glands, hearts, lungs and intestines on a nationwide list coordinated by the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), a private nonprofit organization. The waiting list has nearly tripled in a decade.