Acquiring and allocating human organs for transplant: U.S. law
A half century of human organ transplantation has presented law with
numerous challenges: how to help solve a persistent shortage of organs, how to keep up with constantly changing technology, and how to transmit
and reinforce important social values. Law’s most fundamental tasks in this
arena, however, have been to help answer two basic questions: How should
organs be obtained for transplant? And how should they be allocated? This
chapter will summarize features of federal and state law that govern
answers to these two questions. The first part is divided into two major
questions: How does law reduce the likelihood of killing or exploiting
patients to obtain organs? And by what legal authority can organs be obtained from one human being for transplant into another? The second
part of the chapter examines how organ allocation law incorporates factors
such as the ability to pay, medical factors, geography, and donor directives.
How does law reduce the likelihood of killing or exploiting human beings
for their organs?