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Ethical issues in transplant tourism and organ commercialism 

Ethical issues in transplant tourism and organ commercialism
Ethical issues in transplant tourism and organ commercialism

Robin N. Fiore

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date: 11 August 2020

Demand for transplantable organs continues to outpace availability, despite intensive efforts to increase supply, efficiency, and utility. In the face of organ scarcity—both natural and structural—various forms of transplant commercialism have arisen. Many oppose every form of commercialism relating to human bodies and body parts as intrinsically immoral. Transplant tourism and organ trafficking are two forms of commercialism that raise substantial ethical concerns. However, given the suffering and unnecessary loss of life associated with diseases most commonly treated with solid organ transplant, moral arguments for limited and strategic commercial approaches are gaining ground. It is not the intent of the author to argue for or against commercialism, but to discuss ethical aspects of the debate.Although commercialism applies to human cells and tissues as well as several types of human organs, the focus of this chapter is commercial activities in connection with kidney transplantation, the most commonly needed and most transplanted organ.

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