I'm a big fan of the Institute for Justice, which fights the good fight on issues like economic liberty and eminent domain. Today they're launching what may be their biggest case ever: a fight to allow compensation for bone marrow donors.
For reasons that aren't entirely clear, the 1984 National Organ Transplant Act forbids people to sell their bone marrow, as well as their kidneys, lungs, and so forth. By which I don't mean that the ban is merely stupid; I mean there's apparently some reason to believe that Congress simply did this as a mistake, adding bone marrow into the bill at the last moment without really thinking things through.
Donating bone marrow is a lot more like donating blood than it is like donating a kidney, because of course, your body just makes more marrow to replace what you give up. These days, they don't even have to stick a big needle into your pelvic bone, as they used to; instead, they give you a drug to stimulate blood stem cell production and filter the cells from your blood, using the same apheresis machine that they use to harvest plasma cells from (paid) donors. The risks are extremely minimal, and mostly limited to the side effects from the drug they give you to stimulate cell production.
Nonetheless, it is very, very illegal to compensate donors. That means that people die for want of a transplant. The problem is worst in minority communities, because of the peculiar problems of marrow donation.
In most transplants, you run the risk that your body will decide that the new organ is a foreign object and send white cells to attack it; this is what's called "rejecting the organ", and it's why you have to use immunosuppressant drugs. In the case of marrow transplants, however, the problem is more serious, because marrow is what produces those white blood cells. The risk you run is that those white cells will decide that your body is a foreign object, and attack everything in sight.