AST Statement on Ethics in Organ Transplantation
This ethics statement was developed and approved for the following purposes:
- AST will apply these principles in all educational, scientific, and policy endeavors
- AST will not ask its members to participate in any activity that violates these principles.
- Designated AST representatives will adhere to these principles when operating in an official capacity.
- AST supports pursuit of these principles by its members.
Uniquely in modern medicine, solid organ donation and transplantation requires interaction among multiple parties, well beyond the usual patient-provider relationship. For instance, availability of organs influences decision-making in patient care for all involved. These complex dynamics require maintenance of the highest moral and ethical standards. The following principles should inform the practice of all participating professionals.
- All participants in solid organ transplantation (donors, recipients, providers, investigators) should be respected as autonomous individuals whose interests may not always coincide.
- Healthcare providers, recipients (or candidates) and living donors bring personal, philosophical, and religious beliefs that should be respected.
- All participants must be fully informed of the risks and benefits of all procedures.
- Privacy and confidentiality are the norm for both donors and recipients.
- Medical criteria must be the primary determining factors in transplant decision-making.
- Fair allocation of scarce organs must be free from discrimination and include consideration of the likelihood of successful transplantation.
- Similar candidates should have similar access to transplantation.
- Recipients and living donors should expect to receive quality care, targeted to the individual and meeting accepted standards, at all transplant centers.
- Quality care may require referral to another center for services needed but not offered at any single center.
- Support of innovation and research are essential to transplantation but should be offered only after careful consideration of potential risks and benefits with appropriate informed consent.
IV. ORGAN DONATION
- The care of potential deceased donors must not be compromised with a view to the possible transplant. Standard procedures concerning determination of death or the withdrawal of treatment must be followed by the potential donor's own physicians.
- Among living donors, the decision to donate must be freely made, without coercion or exploitation.
- Neither living donors nor families of deceased donors should profit financially or be financially disadvantaged from donation.
Approved by the AST BOD: January 15, 1999
Revised: February 2001
Revised: October 2002
Revised and Approved by the AST Board of Directors on December 6, 2012.