Ruling Challenge Targets “Worrisome” Medical Payments

Indiana Public Media | Network Indiana

Experts say there is an ethical difference between paying for bone marrow and paying for organs.

The U.S. Justice Department is challenging a federal appeals court ruling that says bone marrow donors can be paid for their marrow. IU law professor and co-director of the Hall Center for Law and Health David Orentlicher says that is because of fears that compensation for bone marrow could lead to payments for kidneys and other organs.

“That may be why the government is opposing it, that they don’t want to open the door to more worrisome kinds of payments,” he says.

Donors can receive payment for other procedures, including sperm donations. Until the appeals court ruling, payment was illegal under the National Organ Transplant Act, but judges found marrow donors could be compensated for blood or plasma donation.