Peter Singer explains why more people should consider donating a kidney to a stranger.
Singer is the Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics in the University Center for Human Values at Princeton University and Laureate Professor in the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies at the University of Melbourne.
He teaches and lectures about the ways in which we can change the culture of giving in affluent cultures. Following is a transcript of the video.
Peter Singer: I’m Peter Singer. I’m the Ira W. DeCamp professor of Bioethics at the University Center for Guman Values at Princeton University.
There are many things that effective altruists can do to help people.
One of them — obviously — is to donate money. But in fact there are things from your own body that you can donate that will make a difference.
Giving blood is something we’re very familiar with and that’s very easy. But the next step up from that would be donating bone marrow — going on the bone marrow register.
And then if you’re a match for somebody who needs a bone marrow transplant — for whom that can be life saving. Being prepared to do that — that’s a somewhat more onerous procedure than donating blood. It’s not risky, but still can be a little bit painful and longer procedure.
And then the next step from that is donating a kidney, which still only a relatively small number of people do — maybe 150 a year. I’m talking about donating a kidney to a complete stranger.
There are many more who donate kidneys to relatives. But that’s clearly a step up. But it is a wonderful thing to do for people who are up to it, because the risk of harm to yourself is really very small.
Zell Kravinsky calculates the risk of being about one in 4,000. And it’s very often life saving for people. And it certainly gives them a far better quality of life.
I know several people who have done this and often they have had contact from the recipient who’s just — obviously — extremely grateful for really giving them their life back and being able to be a fully productive member of the community again.
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