With the financial support of the Prevention of and Fight against Crime Programme
European Commission - Directorate General Home Affairs

Regulated Organ Market

"If we are concerned about reducing the abuses of the black market for human kidneys, we should favour the legalisation of kidney markets, not their continued prohibition,"  Taylor, 2006.
One of the most 'heated' topics in the organ trade dialogue is the question whether we should (or should not) legalize organ sales. One of the first reports written about this issue states the following:
Bellagio Task Force
"The Bellagio Task Force weighed all these considerations and found no unarguable ethical principle that would justify a ban on the sale of organs under all circumstances. It also  appreciated that a prohibition on sale might well cost would-be recipients their lives and infringe in important ways on the autonomy of would-be sellers. Outsiders may not be in a position to make decisions for those who may have to choose between grinding poverty on the one hand  and the sale of a kidney on the other." The Bellagio Task Force Report on Transplantation and the International Traffic in Organs. Transplantation Proceedings 1997;29:2739.
Further reading
We encourage those who want to develop a full understanding of the human organ trade, including its prohibition, to read the pros and cons that surround this debate. Below we have listed articles from various countries and disciplines that argue for and against a regulated market.
If we are missing important articles, please let us know.
  • Ambagtsheer F, Weimar W. A criminological perspective: Why prohibition of organ trade is not effective and how the declaration of Istanbul can move forward. Am J Transplant. 2012;12(3):571-5.
  • Cherry MJ. Kidney For Sale by Owner. Human Organs, Transplantation, and the market. Georgetown University Press, Washington D.C (2005).
  • Dijk, van, G., Hilhorst, M. Financial Incentives for Organ Donation. An Investigation of the Ethical Issues. Council for Public Health and Health Care. Ethics and Health Monitoring Report 2007/3. The Hague: Centre for Ethics and Health, 2007. Available here.
  • Erin CA, Harris J. An ethical market in human organs. J Med Ethics 2003;29(3):137-8.
  • Friedlaender MM. The right to sell or buy a kidney: Are we failing our patients? Lancet 2002;359(9310):971-3.
  • Friedman AL. Payment for living organ donation should be legalised. Br Med J. 2006;333(7571):746-8.
  • Friedman EA, Friedman AL. Payment for donor kidneys: Pros and cons. Kidney Int. 2006;69(6):960-2.
  • Fry-Revere, S. The Kidney Sellers: a journey of discovery in Iran. Carolina Academic Press (2014).
  • Harris J, Erin C. An ethically defensible market in organs. Br Med J. 2002;325(7356):114-5.
  • Hippen BE. In defense of a regulated market in kidneys from living vendors. J Med Philos. 2005;30(6):593-626.
  • Matas AJ. The case for living kidney sales: Rationale, objections and concerns. Am J Transplant. 2004;4(12):2007-17.
  • Matas AJ, Hippen B, Satel S. In defense of a regulated system of compensation for living donation. Curr Opin Organ Transplant. 2008;13(4):379-85.
  • Matas AJ, Schnitzler M. Payment for Living Donor (Vendor) Kidneys: A Cost-Effectiveness Analysis. Am J Transplant. 2004;4(2):216-21.
  • Working Group on Incentives for Living Donation, Matas, A.J., Satel S., Munn, S., Richards, J.R., Tan-Alora, A., Ambagtsheer, F., Asis, M.D., Baloloy, L., et al., Incentives for Organ Donation: Proposed Standards for an Internationally Accepted System, American Journal of Transplantation 2012;12:306-212.
  • J Radcliffe-Richards, A S Daar, R D Guttmann, R Hoffenberg, I Kennedy, M Lock, R A Sells, N Tilney, The Case for Allowing Kidney Sales, Lancet 1998, Vol. 351.
  • Taylor JS. Black markets, transplant kidneys and interpersonal coercion. J Med Ethics 2006;32(12):698-701.
  • Volokh E. Medical self-defense, prohibited experimental therapies, and payment for organs. Harv Law Rev. 2007;120(7):1813-46.
  • Wilkinson TM. Ethics and the Acquisition of Organs. Oxford: Clarendon Press; 2011.
  • Abbud-Filho M, Campos HH, Garcia VD, Pestana JOM. Payment for donor kidneys: Only cons [2]. Kidney Int. 2006;70(3):603-4.
  • Bruzzone P. Financial Incentives for Organ Donation: A Slippery Slope Toward Organ Commercialism? Transplant Proc. 2010;42(4):1048-9.
  • Chapman J. Should we pay donors to increase the supply of organs for transplantation? No. BMJ (Clinical research ed) 2008;336(7657):1343.
  • The declaration of Istanbul on organ trafficking and transplant tourism. Indian J Nephrol. 2008 Jul;18(3):135-40.
  • Danovitch GM. From Helsinki to Istanbul: What can the transplant community learn from experience in clinical research? Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation 2008 Apr;23(4):1089-92.
  • Danovitch G. Cash, rewards, and benefits in organ transplantation: An open letter to Senator Arlen Specter. Curr Opin Organ Transplant. 2009;14(2):129-33.
  • Delmonico FL. The implications of Istanbul Declaration on organ trafficking and transplant tourism. Curr Opin Organ Transplant. 2009;14(2):116-9.
  • Delmonico F, Danovitch G, Capron A, Levin A, Chapman J. "Proposed standards for incentives for organs donation" are neither international nor acceptable. Am J Transplant. 2012;12(7):1954-5.
  • Delmonico FL, Scheper-Hughes N. Why we should not pay for human organs. Natl Cathol Bioeth Q. 2002;2(3):381-9.
  • Demme RA. Ethical concerns about an organ market. J Natl Med Assoc. 2010;102(1):46-50.
  • Epstein M. Sociological and ethical issues in transplant commercialism. Curr Opin Organ Transplant. 2009;14(2):134-9.
  • Ghods AJ. Ethical issues and living unrelated donor kidney transplantation. Iran J Kidney Dis. 2009;3(4):183-91.
  • Glazier AK, Delmonico FL. The declaration of Istanbul is moving forward by combating transplant commercialism and trafficking and by promoting organ donation. Am J Transplant. 2012;12(3):515-6.
  • Harmon W, Delmonico F. Payment for kidneys: a government-regulated system is not ethically achievable. Clin J Am Soc Nephrol. 2006;1(6):1146-7.
  • Kahan BD. Losing the kingdom: The case against commercial organ donation. Nat Clin Pract Urol. 2007;4(6):290-1.
  • Martin, D, and White, S. Risk, Regulation, and Financian Incentives for Living Kidney Donation. The American Journal of Bioethics. 2014;14(10):46-48
  • Noel L. Who guiding principles on human cell, tissue and organ transplantation. Transplantation 2010;90(3):229-33.

International Symposium

21 November 2014

Europol, The Hague,The Netherlands

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