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Human organs, scarcities, and sale: morality revisited
  1. R R Kishore
  1. Correspondence to:
 R R Kishore
 President, Indian Society for Health Laws and Ethics, D-II/145 Kidwai Nagar (West), New Delhi-110023, India;


Despite stringent and fine tuned laws most jurisdictions are not able to curb organ trafficking. Nor are they able to provide organs to the needy. There are reports of the kidnapping and murder of children and adults to “harvest” their organs. Millions of people are suffering, not because the organs are not available but because “morality” does not allow them to have access to the organs. Arguments against organ sale are grounded in two broad considerations: (1) sale is contrary to human dignity, and (2) sale violates equity. Both these objections are examined in this article and it is concluded that they reflect a state of moral paternalism rather than pragmatism. It is argued that a live human body constitutes a vital source of supply of organs and tissues and that the possibilities of its optimum utilisation should be explored. Commercialisation should be curbed not by depriving a needy person of his genuine requirements but by making the enforcement agencies efficient.

  • human organs
  • sale
  • dignity
  • equity
  • paternalism

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  • Eurotransplant is an organisation of the European Union founded to promote and monitor the activity of organ transplantation in certain European jurisdictions.