United States - Ethical issues and debate

Allocation of deceased donor organs to non-US citizens


The allocation of organs procured from altruistic deceased donors in the United States to wealthy foreigners who travel to the country specifically for the purpose of organ transplantation raises serious ethical concerns about justice. (See Why is it Legal... below) Nevertheless, access is often provided to foreign patients for admirable reasons, for example to save the lives of children who have no hope of obtaining a transplant in their own country (See Foreigners, desperate...).

It's important to remember that the number of foreigners who obtain a transplant in this way is very small - only 38 in 2013. Most organs donated by residents of the United States are allocated to fellow residents of the country, not wealthy foreigners.

The recent change in UNOS policy provides critical transparency that will help to inform professionals and the public. The transparency of data will  support efforts to ensure that organs are shared within societies that help contribute to meeting needs for transplantation through donation. (See Organ Transplantation for nonresidents...)

Title Created Date
Providing coverage for the unique life‐long health care needs of living kidney donors within the framework of financial neutrality 10 December 2016
Foreigners, desperate and able to pay for transplants, find hope in U.S. 19 September 2014
Organ Transplantation for Nonresidents of the United States: A Policy for Transparency 28 May 2014

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