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עמוד בית
Mon, 15.07.24

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March 2004
R. V. Grazi and J.B. Wolwesky

The Israel Health Ministry is preparing legislation that would allow a person to receive monetary compensation in exchange for donating a kidney for a lifesaving transplant. Such a bill would be the first of its kind, and would seem to establish a policy that is in contrast with both existing international professional ethics and major Christian and Islamic religious ethics. In an attempt to investigate the extent to which such a bill would be consistent with traditional Jewish ethics, we reviewed the opinions of major traditional Jewish ethicists/halakhists, with emphasis on contemporary opinions, and found that compensating an organ donor for his or her time, discomfort, inconvenience, and recovery is fully consistent with traditional Jewish law and ethics.  While non-altruistic sale of kidneys might be theoretically ethical from a Jewish perspective, ultimately its ethical status is inextricably connected to solving a series of pragmatic issues, such as creating a system that insures that potential vendors/donors are properly informed and not exploited; controlling and supervising medical screening and support of the donors to insure that their health is not permanently endangered; protecting minors and incompetents; and regulating payments so that they reasonably reflect compensation for pain and suffering.

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