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4 Ethical Organ Transplantation Dilemmas We Should All Care About

There are over 100,000 people currently on the organ donation list in the United States. But organ donation isn’t black and white.

There are lots of ethical considerations that need to be considered when you think about organ donation and transplantation. Educate yourself about these ethical issues in organ transplantation.

1. The Criteria Changes

The criteria to qualify for an organ donation tends to shift and change.  And, these qualifications can differ by state, country, or even by the hospital. Of course, a doctor needs to believe that a recipient both requires the organ and will survive the surgery.

Different organs may also have different requirements for receiving organ donation. Some of the different types of organs that are available include:

  • Heart
  • Liver
  • Kidneys
  • Lungs
  • Hands
  • Intestines

Some people may require multiple organs, which could complicate their eligibility depending on their age, health, and other factors. And, different places may not adhere to the National Organ Transplant Act in the same way.

Certain medical facilities, like the Emory Transplant Center, make their organ transplantation requirements very clear. Others may not be as transparent. That doesn’t mean they’re not meeting their legal requirements, but it can make them harder to navigate.

2. Confidentiality

Maintaining confidentiality is incredibly important for all types of organ donation. The identity of both the person receiving the organ and the person donating it needs to be protected unless both parties have agreed otherwise. While privacy is important, there is always a chance that undiscovered medical issues from the donor could impact the recipient.

3. Family Donations

Some organs are donated to a patient by friends or family members. These donations primarily involve organs where the donor will survive without the organ. Family donations are one of the biggest ethical issues in organ donation and transplantation.

Some people may feel pressured to donate their organs to family members. Bodily autonomy always needs to be respected by all parties involved in organ donation. That’s why counseling is often recommended or required for people donating or receiving organs.

4. Access

Organ transplantation access can also have limitations. Your location in the country can limit your ability to access organ transplantation if you’re not located near a major city. If you’re in a rural area, it may be difficult for you to get to a hospital in time to receive your organ donation, even if you’re at the top of the list.

Insurance can also be an issue. People without health insurance can still receive organ donations, but they may face extremely high bills after the fact. This means that some people may opt out of receiving an organ transplant, even if it costs them their life.

Ethical Issues in Organ Transplantation: Now You Know

Obviously, there are many other ethical issues in organ transplantation up for debate. Especially if you plan to be involved with an organ donation, it’s important to do thorough research and understand everything you face.

Are you searching for more articles about medical and ethical issues? Scroll through some of our other interesting posts.

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