27 Indiana J. Global Legal Studies 409 (2020)
Medical tourism, as defined by scholar Glenn Cohen, is "the travel
of residents of one country to another country for treatment."'
Transplant tourism, a type of medical tourism, is traveling abroad to
purchase an organ for transplant. Although organ sale is currently
illegal in every country except Iran, many countries-such as India, the
Philippines, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Egypt-have thriving black
markets for these goods. Organ transplants are often the only effective
means of treating end state organ failure, and the demand for
transplants is especially high in developed and middle-income
countries. Shortages of available donors and organs, however, have
caused an increased demand with a limited supply. The Global
Observatory on Donation and Transplantation estimates that in 2013,
there were 118,000 organs transplanted globally, meeting only 10
percent or less of global needs. This gap in supply and demand has
created a black market for underground organ sales where poor and
vulnerable individuals sell their organs to brokers, who then resell these
organs at higher costs. In 2011, the World Health Organization
estimated that global illicit organ sales produced between $600 million
and $1.2 billion annually. The market that has emerged is harmful to
sellers in many aspects, and sellers are often taken advantage of by
brokers' manipulative tactics.
This paper will explore the problems associated with black market
organ sales and analyze its effects on sellers" (i.e., the people selling
their organs) and the tourists (i.e., the people who travel abroad for
transplantation). Part I will give an overview of how transplant tourism
operates, focusing specifically on kidney sales. Part II will address
ethical arguments for why transplant tourism is harmful to sellers. Part
III will address the international response to this phenomenon and the
various international protocols in place. Finally, Part IV will propose
regulatory solutions that are aimed at protecting sellers. Since a
thriving black market already exists, regulation-instead of outright
prohibition-is the best solution for protecting sellers' well-being who are
currently unprotected in the market.
"Addressing Transplant Tourism Problems and Proposed Solutions: Regulation Instead of Prohibition,"
Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies: Vol. 27
, Article 10.
Available at: https://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/ijgls/vol27/iss2/10
Available for download on Sunday, August 01, 2021