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The Organ Trade

As the global need for organ transplants grows, so does the prominence of black-market organs. How can the demand be satisfied?

There is a global shortage of organs available for donation. Currently, almost 115,000 people are on a waiting list for an organ transplant in the United States alone, with another being added to the list every ten minutes. Such a high demand requires innovative solutions, and with twenty people dying per day, it is critical that a resolution be reached quickly to stem the loss of life. With such a weak outlook many turn to illegal options. The illicit organ trade is worth between 600 million and 1.2 billion USD. Sustained by long wait lists, lack of alternatives, and the desire to live many turn to the black market. Such actions disproportionately affect poor and indigenous communities worldwide, as such finding a solution to the organ problem not only affects those directly on the list but thousands of individuals worldwide.


The solution to the global organ shortage can be solved through both policy and technology. 3D printing, laboratory growing, and opt-out systems are all promising solutions, however as with any solution it is imperative that all consequences be weighed. The organ shortage is reaching a turning point, and with self-driving cars on the horizon, the number of organs available for transplant is predicted to drop precipitously. As such it is critical that a solution is presented now, to avoid a future catastrophe that will without a doubt result in the deaths of tens of thousands of human beings.

Background Guide

Meet Your Dais


Ethan Lutz

Vice Chair​

Nassim Ali Ahmad