The State of the International Organ Trade: A Provisional Picture Based on Integration of Available Information

Yosuke Shimazono

Organ transplantation is widely practised worldwide. The expansion of organ transplantation has led to a critical shortage of organs and the development of the organ trade. Many patients travel to areas where organs are obtainable through commercial transactions. Although the international organ trade is regarded as an important health policy issue, its current state remains obscure because of scarce data and the lack of efforts to synthesize available data. This paper is an attempt to integrate information about the current international organ trade and create a tentative global picture based on a systematic review of 309 media reports, journal articles and other documents. The international organ trade is described in terms of its forms, the organ-exporting countries, the organ-importing countries and its outcomes and consequences.

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