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What’s not wrong with conditional organ donation?
  1. T M Wilkinson
  1. Departments of Community Health and Philosophy, University of Auckland, Private Bag 92019, Auckland, New Zealand; m.wilkinson{at}


    In a well known British case, the relatives of a dead man consented to the use of his organs for transplant on the condition that they were transplanted only into white people. The British government condemned the acceptance of racist offers and the panel they set up to report on the case condemned all conditional offers of donation. The panel appealed to a principle of altruism and meeting the greatest need. This paper criticises their reasoning. The panel’s argument does not show that conditional donation is always wrong and anyway overlooks a crucial distinction between making an offer and accepting it. But even the most charitable reinterpretation of the panel’s argument does not reject selective acceptance of conditional offers. The panel’s reasoning has no merit.

    • altruism
    • needs
    • organ donation
    • racism
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