Six Decades of Organ Donation and the Challenges That Shifting the United States to a Market System Would Create Around the World

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Alexander M Capron

2014, 77(3): 25-69

Since the beginning of human kidney transplantation six decades ago,1 and especially since the first heart transplant and the creation of deceased-donation programs forty-five years ago in the United States, the Western model for organ donation has been one of unpaid giving. Such a donation typically occurs for what are termed “altruistic” reasons, meaning that the organ donor is not acting for material gain. As transplantation has spread around the world, the model of unpaid donation has not uniformly followed it into settings that are socially, medically, and legally very different. Nonetheless, over the past twenty-five years, the principled stand of intergovernmental and professional organizations has come much closer to making noncommercial organ donation truly the universal ethical norm. But its hold remains tenuous, and hence the gains made in protecting vulnerable, desperate organ sellers against exploitation could be easily lost...

Read the complete article courtesy of Law and Contemporary Problems here.

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