The Commercialization of Human Organs for Transplantation: The Current Status of the Ethical Debate

Current Opinion in Organ Transplantation, Vol. 11, No. 2, pp. 130-135, April 2006

Posted: 19 Apr 2006

See all articles by Mary Simmerling

Mary Simmerling

Adler University; Cornell University, Weill Cornell Medical College

Peter Angelos

Northwestern University

John Franklin

Northwestern University - Feinberg School of Medicine

Michael Abecassis

Northwestern University - Feinberg School of Medicine

Abstract

Purpose of review: Whether financial or other incentives for organs should be allowed or prohibited is one of the most challenging ethical issues facing the transplant community. This review provides an overview of the current status of the ethical debate on this issue.

Recent findings: Currently, the buying and selling of organs from either living or deceased donors is legally prohibited in many parts of the world in order both to prevent the commercialization of organs and to ensure some level of equity of access to organ transplantation. Still, a number of proposals have been put forth in recent years suggesting that some form of financial compensation (e.g. direct payment, reimbursement, tax credits) or other 'moral' incentives (e.g. honorary medals) should be permitted or explored. An emerging issue that has recently received considerable attention is public solicitation of organs from living and deceased donors through commercial venues, which is seen by some as a potential means for the wealthy to gain an unfair advantage in obtaining an organ.

Summary: This review tracks the ethical debate regarding the commercialization of organs along a 'commercialization continuum', with direct payment for organs at one end and public solicitation at the other.

Keywords: Commercialization, sales, organs, coercion, exploitation

JEL Classification: D63, D64, H41, I18

Suggested Citation

Simmerling, Mary and Angelos, Peter and Franklin, John and Abecassis, Michael, The Commercialization of Human Organs for Transplantation: The Current Status of the Ethical Debate. Current Opinion in Organ Transplantation, Vol. 11, No. 2, pp. 130-135, April 2006, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=896240

Mary Simmerling (Contact Author)

Adler University ( email )

17 N. Dearborn
Chicago, IL 60604
United States

Cornell University, Weill Cornell Medical College ( email )

1300 York Avenue
New York, NY 10065
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://vivo.weill.cornell.edu/display/cwid-mcs2006

Peter Angelos

Northwestern University ( email )

2001 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60208
United States

John Franklin

Northwestern University - Feinberg School of Medicine ( email )

Chicago, IL 60611
United States

Michael Abecassis

Northwestern University - Feinberg School of Medicine ( email )

Chicago, IL 60611
United States

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