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Organs: tradable, but not necessarily inheritable
  1. James Stacey Taylor
  1. Correspondence to Dr James Stacey Taylor, Department of Philosophy, The College of New Jersey, 2000 Pennington, Ewing, NJ 08626, USA;jtaylor{at}

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Teck Chuan Voo and Soren Holm argue that “organs should be inheritable if they were to be socially and legally recognised as tradable property.”1 To support this view they first observe that “…legal recognition of objects as property… opens up the possibility of the legal recognition of the survival of the property rights and their inheritability after the death of the source/owner, even if those rights are intimately bound with the person.”1 They also note that if organs are tradable property then they could be sold by their current owners for removal by the buyer after the original owner dies. Having established that a person's property rights in her organs should be respected in this way if organs are tradable property, Voo and Holm hold that “[p]rima facie, organs should be disposable by testation”.1 They believe that this claim is supported by the same consequentialist reasons that support organs being recognised as tradable property: that this increases persons’ freedom and control over their organs, and increases transfers of transplantable organs to persons who need them. But while these reasons support recognising organs as tradable property, they do not support their being …

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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