A Deadly Dilemma: The Failure of Nations' Organ Procurement Systems and Potential Reform Alternatives


All countries throughout the world vary in the way they procure organs, but they all have one thing in common: there is a fatal organ shortage because all the systems countries have imposed have failed. No procurement system in the world has been successful. Therefore, new procurement systems need to be implemented and tested, particularly financial incentives or a regulated organ market, to remedy these unnecessary and preventable deaths. This paper will explore the failures of current organ procurement systems as well as alternative reform systems. Part II provides a brief overview of the history of organ transplantation. Part III addresses the reasoning behind the shortage of organs. Part IV examines organ transplantation legislation in America, while Part V examines the varieties of legislation imposed abroad. Part VI discusses six alternative procurement systems, including: (1) express donation; (2) presumed consent; (3) conscription; (4) routine requests; (5) financial incentives; and (6) an organ market. Of these systems, four have been tried and failed, but two (financial incentives and an organ market) should be considered for trial. In addition, the advantages and disadvantages of the two proposed systems are examined at length, as are the effect of the black market on organ donation, the different types of organ sales, and the enhancement of donation through international cooperation.


Health Law and Policy | International Law

Date of this Version

July 2004