Moral Agency and the Family: The Case of Living Related Organ Transplantation

Living related organ transplantation is morally problematic for two reasons. First, it requires surgeons to perform nontherapeutic, even dangerous procedures on healthy donors—and in the case of children, without their consent. Second, the transplant donor and recipient are often intimately related to each other, as parent and child, or as siblings. These relationships challenge our conventional models of medical decisionmaking. Is there anything morally problematic about a parent allowing the interests of one child to be risked for the sake of another? What exactly are the interests of the prospective child donor whose sibling will die without an organ? Is the choice of a parent to take risks for the sake of her child truly free, or is the specter of coercion necessarily raised?
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DOI 10.1017/s096318019980303x
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