Intrafamilial Organ Donation Is Often an Altruistic Act

Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 12 (1):116-118 (2003)
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Abstract

In their recent article, Glannon and Ross remind us that family members have obligations to help each other that strangers do not have. They argue, I believe correctly, that what creates moral obligations within families is not genetic relationship but rather a sharing of intimacy. For no one are these obligations stronger than they are for parents of young children. This observation leads the authors to the logical conclusion that organ donation by a parent to her child is not optional but rather a prima facie duty. However, Glannon and Ross go a step further by suggesting that because parent-to-child organ donation is a duty, it cannot be altruistic. They assert that “altruistic acts are optional, nonobligatory…supererogatory…. Given that altruism consists in purely optional actions presupposing no duty to aid others, any parental act that counts as meeting a child's needs cannot be altruistic.” Here I think the authors go too far

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Citations of this work

Duties to Kin Through a Tragi-Comic Lens.Grant Gillett & Robin Hankey - 2014 - Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 11 (2):173-180.
Live Kidney Donations and the Ethic of Care.Francis Kane, Grace Clement & Mary Kane - 2008 - Journal of Medical Humanities 29 (3):173-188.

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