Three views of organ procurement policy: moving ahead or giving up?

Kennedy Inst Ethics J. 2003 Mar;13(1):45-50. doi: 10.1353/ken.2003.0005.


The supply of organs for transplant remains inadequate to meet the needs of waiting patients, in spite of many programs and approaches to increase rates of donation. Over the years there have been numerous proposals to introduce schemes that would move toward the outright sale of organs. Three articles in this issue of the Journal propose methods for increasing organ supply--two by moving toward a market approach and the third by advocating a change in social culture. All three suffer from shortcomings, including the endorsement and encouragement of the exploitation of those who may offer organs. Although the shortage of organs must be addressed, the social price of a market in organs is too high, and proposals to encourage a rethinking of social responsibility are unlikely to be effective.

MeSH terms

  • Coercion
  • Fees and Charges
  • Humans
  • Motivation
  • Poverty
  • Prisoners
  • Public Policy*
  • Social Change
  • Social Responsibility
  • Tissue Donors
  • Tissue and Organ Procurement / economics
  • Tissue and Organ Procurement / ethics
  • Tissue and Organ Procurement / methods*
  • United States