Organ Transplantation


Organ transplant can be defined as moving an organ from the body of one person to another, that is, from a donor spot to another patient or to the patient’s own body. The significant purpose of organ transplant is to replace the individual patient’s or the recipient of absent or damaged organ. Some of the organs that can be transplanted include the heart, pancreas, kidneys, lungs, skin, liver, thymus and intestine. Tissues include the following, veins, bones, cornea, tendons and heart valves. Moreover, the major commonly transplanted organs globally are the kidneys.

Organ Transplanting

A person needs an organ transplant when one of his or her organ fails to function properly. This situation can be caused by injury or illness. Transplantation medicine is among the most complex and challenging areas of modern science. Some of the transplants types include, Autograft, Isograft, Allograft, Xenograft and xenotransplantation. For organ transplant to occur, the doctors must have the right donor that matches with the recipient tissues to reduce or avoid risks of transplant rejection. Rejection has been a key area in medical management problems. The body’s reaction or its immune response against the organ can cause it to fail as it views as a threat leading to immediate removal of the organ to save any more damage. Individuals with transplants have to take drugs to help their bodies from rejecting a new organ (Saul, 2002). Issues that arise from organ transplanting include determining the most proper recipient-donor match in organs and tissue, the donation basics, transplantation basics, research, best practices, legislation and risk factors in transplanting. The transplant of human tissues and organs saves many lives by restoring principal functions for many patients who were otherwise untreatable. Both developed and developing countries have been scrutinizing ethical issues and policies in health care that govern organ transplanting. This has influenced legislation and professional codes in this field. Various bioethical issues are raised in organ transplanting which

Organ Transplantation

include definition of death, how and when consent for organ transplant is given, and transplantation payment for organs. The controversies and debates in organ transplantation have longtime focus on the fundamental issues in the field which entail proper resource allocations, shortage of organ donors and responsibilities to lifesaving ethics. Advances in this field have consequently come under inspection in the organ transplant controversial therapy. Ethical concerns in the society especially in embryonic stem cell transplant have raised debates that encompass people’s beliefs, religious beliefs and questions about life. Furthermore, more questions are being raised concerning potential health risks, the procedure’s psychological impacts, and the potent immunological medication that patients take after organ transplant continuously in their lives. The potential issue of also harming a prospect healthy person to help a patient is also raised. Undue societal pressures can be placed when medical or societal bodies foster live organ donation and transplant, because this might only benefit the wealthy leaving out the poor (Arnold, 1996). Recent advances have drawn out more practical and ethical ponderings, deontological, teleological, political issues and religious viewpoints to the controversial therapy. Some modern bioethicists have opposed organ donation on the grounds of moral status, but most of the religions in the world support donation as a charitable act that would greatly benefit the community. Issues concerning living wills, patient autonomy, and guardianship also influence organ donation and transplant. Teleological concerns are based on the “black market organ donation” moral status that relies on the ends than the means. The donors are mostly impoverished persons’ while those who afford the organs are wealthy. The legality of this transaction is often put to question with more arguments coming into play concerning physical exploitation, cannibalism and financial exploitation. Through mass media and communication advancement the general public is becoming more aware of the issues surrounding therapy in this field and consequently expressing their opinions through issues in reasons for donating and ethics. The aspect of living related donors, paired-exchange, the Good Samaritan factor, compensation in donation, forced donations and the allocation sequence of donated organs. Bodies, institutions and governments have voiced their concerns over the practice of organ transplants (Rady, 2006). Factors of comparative costs, safety, organ transplant laws, and ethical concerns have dominated the debate over the controversial therapy practice.


Organ transplants gives hope to the lives of people who suffer from various diseases that were terminal because of end stage organ failure. There is gradual hope that the research and development of stem cell transplantation will offer hope to people suffering from spinal chord

Organ Transplantation

injuries, cancer, neurological disorders example Parkinson’s disease and many other deadly maladies. Recent transplantation efforts have been seen as potentials to ease long term psychological burdens. Despite these positive aspects, many controversies surround the organ transplantation therapy with the field struggling to achieve legitimacy due to the different issues that disagree with the practice. The past deaths due to high failure rates in organ transplants compounded the development of the practice. However, with more technological changes, advancement in research, organ transplant is becoming more widely accepted and viable although controversies still surround it.


Saul, P. & Lowe, M. (2002). Death, dying and donation: organ transplantation and the diagnosis of death. J Med Ethics.

Rady, M. Y. (2006). Organ donation after circulatory death: the forgotten donor. Critical Care.

Arnold, R. M. (1996). Ethical issues in organ procurement: a review for intensivists. Crit Care Clinics.