Throw Me a Bone Marrow Transplant: Peripheral Blood Stem Cells and the National Organ Transplant Act

June 23, 2012

Thousands of people die every year in the United States waiting for a matching bone marrow donor. This is attributed to a shortage of willing donors. One solution that has been suggested is to incentivize donation with compensation. However, since 1984, the National Organ Transplant Act has made it illegal for anyone in the United States to provide compensation for organ donation, including bone marrow. Still, changes in the way bone marrow transplants are performed have prompted proponents of organ donor compensation to challenge the law’s application to this procedure. In Flynn v. Holder, the Ninth Circuit ruled that the federal ban on compensation did not apply to bone marrow donation performed by stem cell transplant. This Recent Development argues that the Ninth Circuit’s holding is less likely to be overturned on appeal or through legislation because of its narrow, straightforward reasoning. In turn, organizations that compensate marrow donors will be provided with some time to prove their concept, perhaps changing the minds of opponents.