New transplant ruling may buoy illegal organ trade: Foundation

New transplant ruling may buoy illegal organ trade: Foundation

New transplant ruling may buoy illegal organ trade: Foundation

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Two Turkish courts have annulled procedures of an organ transplant commission prohibiting organ donation to third parties, a move that may encourage illegal organ trade according to an organ donation foundation.

The ruling was issued by the fifth and sixth administrative courts in Istanbul on the grounds that the only treatment for some patients is an organ transplant, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported on Dec. 27. 

The courts said the rationale stated by the Ethical Commission for the Assessment of Organ Transplantation Applications, a commission responsible for organ transplant decisions, prohibiting organ transplants between non-related persons should be based on solid information stated in a written document.

Annulling the procedures of the commission, which have thus far prohibited organ transplants between two non-related persons because there of a lack of ethical and legal barriers between the parties involved, however, has doctors and leading medical organizations worried.

Turkish Kidney Foundation head Timur Erk says the ruling might pave the way for illegal organ trade.

“Patients awaiting a suitable kidney for transplant may choose to receive it from third parties because of the excess demand and this way of supply may beget unethical and illegal actions,” Erk said.

"This issue has become a controversy because justices are not as experts like the ethical commission in medical terms,” Erk added.

Citing the current shortage of transplant donors as well as excessive demand, Erk said, “The organs that can be transplanted from a living person to another [person] are the kidney, liver and bone marrow.”

“Some 22,320 patients are awaiting suitable kidneys and 2,262 others are awaiting suitable livers for transplant on the Health Ministry National Awaiting List,” Erk said, adding that the number of successful kidney transplants was only around 3,000 and that of liver transplants was only 200.

The ruling came as the Health Ministry Istanbul Directorate rejected the application of two patients with liver diseases, filed with the directorate to receive organ transplants from non-related donors.

The patients, in response, filed two separate lawsuits with administrative courts in Istanbul to revoke their applications’ rejection by the health directorate.