Authors
André Krom
Utrecht University
Abstract
Anticipating the reevaluation of the Dutch organ procurement system, in late 2003 the Rathenau Institute published a study entitled ‘Gift or Contribution?’ In this study, the author, Govert den Hartogh, carries out a thorough moral analysis of the problem of organ shortage and fair allocation of organs. He suggests there should be a change in mentality whereby organ donation is no longer viewed in terms of charity and the volunteer spirit, but rather in terms of duty and reciprocity. The procurement and allocation of donor organs should be seen as a system of mutually assured help. Fair allocation would imply to give priority to those who recognize and comply with their duty: the registered donors. The idea of viewing organ donation as an undertaking involving mutual benefit rather than as a matter of charity, however, is not new. Notwithstanding the fact that reference to charity and altruism is not required in order for the organ donation to be of moral significance, we will argue against the reciprocity-based scenario. Steering organ allocation towards those who are themselves willing to donate organs is both an ineffective and morally questionable means of attempting to counter the organ shortage.
Keywords Applied Philosophy  General Interest
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ISBN(s) 0739-098X
DOI ijap20051914
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