Legal and ethical dimensions of organ transplantation: A comparative report from Turkey
Abstract: As the debate about organ transplantation continues worldwide, legal regulations are critically important to
managing the ongoing process. Issues related to living donors, cadaver donation, economic incentives, brain death, and a variety
of factors such as human nature and the sociocultural, religious, and transcultural dimensions make organ donation an important
topic in medical ethics. Current debates relate mostly to the prohibition of commercialization and increasing donation on a
voluntary basis. Enforcement of the first laws regarding organ and tissue preservation and transplantation began in the 1970s
generally and in 1979 in Turkey, which was quite early compared to European countries. Our aim was to identify the divergence
points that play a critical role in healthy decisions for organ transplantation. Our hypothesis is that either coercion or ‘mis-untrue’
informed consent is a possible obstacle. In this study, we analyzed two cases from clinical observation and carried out a small
field study relevant to the topic in Turkey. Legislative limitations and authentic viewpoints are discussed in a comparative manner
and a global context. In different parts of the world, sociocultural, transcultural, religious, and economic factors, hidden coercion,
or mis-un-true informed consent might cause some vulnerable members of families to donate organs involuntarily or vice versa.
These issues create ethical dilemmas and also a basis for legislative discussions. Keywords: organ transplantation, legal, ethics, international, Turkey, coercion.