Milei’s possible foreign minister defends legalization of organ market

Diana Mondino said the far-right’s presidential candidate proposal regarding the topic has been “twisted” by the media

National deputy-elect Diana Mondino (La Libertad Avanza, LLA) said the legalization of an organ market would be “fantastic”, adding that it would not mean that organs are necessarily being sold.

Mondino, who was earmarked to be foreign minister for a LLA government before Milei’s agreement with former president Mauricio Macri, said Milei’s statements in favor of an organ market had been “twisted” by the media. Mondino stated that it didn’t mean organs would be sold for money, but rather that it would be a “transaction.”

“The organ market is fantastic,” Mondino told La Red radio station on Wednesday morning. “Everybody thinks it means you will have an organ taken out in the middle of the street, that you will be cut into pieces and that your kidney will be stolen.”

“[Having] a market means transaction,” the economist said.

However, she said she supports the 2018 organ donation law known as “Justina law.” Justina Lo Cane was a 12-year-old girl who died in 2017 while waiting for a heart transplant. Up until that point, people had to volunteer in order to become an organ donor by filling out a form provided by the national organ donation center (INCUCAI, by its Spanish initials). 

Since 2018, all Argentine citizens over 18 are organ donors at their time of death, unless they explicitly stated otherwise while they were alive. People in need of transplants still have to wait for their turn, but there are more donors now.

In Argentina, people can also donate kidneys and livers during their lifetime if they are related to the organ’s recipient. This can only be done if it is guaranteed that the donor’s health will not be affected and the odds are that the transplant will be successful.

“The Justina law is fantastic and needs to be applied,” Mondino said.

Mondino had already touched on this subject during an interview with LN+ news channel on Tuesday night, where she said that an organ market would be “radically different from [organ selling].”

“Maybe you need a kidney, and no one close to you is a match. Or either they can’t or won’t donate it to you. But perhaps there is someone who is compatible with you and wants to donate [their kidney],” Mondino said. In the interview with La Red, she said this would be like “paying it forward,” which “can save lives.”

Mondino also mentioned that economist Alvin Roth won a Nobel Prize in 2012 for his work regarding kidney exchange, which means someone who needs a kidney and doesn’t have any matching relatives can receive an organ transplant only if one of their family members donates a kidney in return. This proposed program, known as Global Kidney Exchange, aims to connect donors and recipients from poor and rich countries. The European Union banned this program from being implemented in Spain in 2018. The Spanish National Transplant Donation said this system is a “new form of organ trafficking.”


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