Ethical issues in penile transplantation

Asian J Androl. 2010 Nov;12(6):795-800. doi: 10.1038/aja.2010.88. Epub 2010 Sep 13.


This article provides an overview of the ethical issues associated with penile transplantation, a form of composite tissue allografting. There is only one reported case of human penile transplantation, and, as such, this technique is considered to be experimental. The ethical issues at stake involve both the graft donor and the graft recipient. With regard to the recipient, there are significant concerns relating to surgical risks and benefits, informed consent, body image (including surgical expectations and outcomes) and compliance. Donor issues may include family consent and privacy, as well as graft harvesting (leaving the donor cadaver without a penis). Many of these ethical issues can be explored during the recipient's assessment and consent process. Because no medium-term or long-term outcome data for this procedure exist-only one such operation has ever been performed-the burdens and ethical issues concerning penile transplantation remain unknown.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Informed Consent
  • Male
  • Penile Transplantation*
  • Penis / injuries
  • Penis / surgery
  • Privacy
  • Replantation
  • Tissue Donors
  • Transplantation, Homologous / ethics*
  • Transplantation, Homologous / psychology