Kidney for Sale by Owner

Human Organs, Transplantation, and the Market

Mark J. Cherry

"Accessible and would be of interest to the casual reader, while retaining sufficient analytical depth to be relevant to the ethical or transplant professional."
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If most Americans accept the notion that the market is the most efficient means to distribute resources, why should body parts be excluded?

Each year thousands of people die waiting for organ transplants. Many of these deaths could have been prevented were it not for the almost universal moral hand-wringing over the concept of selling human organs. Kidney for Sale by Owner, now with a new preface, boldly deconstructs the roadblocks that are standing in the way of restoring health to thousands of people. Author and bioethicist Mark Cherry reasserts the case that health care could be improved and lives saved by introducing a regulated transplant organs market rather than by well-meant, but misguided, prohibitions.

Table of Contents

Preface to the Paperback Edition


1. Human Organ Sales and Moral Arguments: The Body for Beneficence and Profit

Challenges for Public Health Care Policy
"Global Consensus"
Prohibition: Controversies and Criticisms

2. Metaphysics, Morality, and Political Theory: The Presuppositions of Proscription Reexamined
Initial Considerations: Assessing Standards of Evidence and Placing the Burden of Proof
Persons and Body Parts
Owning One's Body
Repugnance: Adjudication Among Moral Institutions
Government, Health Care Policy, and Private Choices

3. A Market in Human Organs: Costs and Benefits, Vices and Virtues
Health Care Costs and Benefits
Special Moral Costs and Benefits: Equality and Liberty
Exploitation: Organ Markets Verses Other Procurement and Allocation Strategies
Community, Altruism, and Free Choice
Scientific Excellence and the Market Place
The Market and Profit: The Virtues and Vices of Free Choice

4. The Body, Its Parts, and the Market: Revisionist Interpretations From the History of Philosophy
Major Theories

5. Prohibition: More Harm than Benefit?
Aspiring to an International Bioethics
False Claims to Moral Consensus
Crafting Health Care Policy Amidst Moral Pluralism

Appendix: Sample of International Legislation Restricting the Sale of Human Organs for Transplantation

List of Cases




"Kidney for Sale by Owner is a remarkable book—insightful, scholarly, and beautifully argued."—American Journal of Bioethics

"Kidney for Sale by Owner is a tour de force, demonstrating both philosophical acumen, insight and scholarly care. This is how bioethics should be done! Moreover—and more soberly—given the number of people who die while waiting for a transplant, and the greater number who suffer while waiting, Kidney for Sale by Owner is long overdue. With luck it will be read not just by philosophers, but also by medical professionals and the framers of public policy."—Economic Affairs

"A comprehensive, balanced review of the philosophical and practical aspects of adopting a market-driven system for organ sales. Transplantation professionals, bioethicists, and the public will find Kidney for Sale by Owner invaluable for framing discussions of this complicated topic. . . . This book challenges our current views on the commercialism of organ donation and argues that from an ethical, medical, and societal viewpoint, the current prohibition of organ sales may cause more harm than good."—New England Journal of Medicine

"Accessible and would be of interest to the casual reader, while retaining sufficient analytical depth to be relevant to the ethical or transplant professional."—British Medical Journal

"Mark Cherry has authored an important, intellectually challenging book. Not only does Cherry address important questions about the sale of organs, but he also raises thought-provoking, important moral questions about how we understand the body and moral authority in a secular society. The book raises important questions for transplantation ethics, bioethics, and political ethics."—Kevin Wm. Wildes, SJ, President, Loyola University New Orleans

"Kidney for Sale by Owner is extremely important, especially at a time when the demand for organs is ever-increasing and the supply is not. Cherry addresses important issues in social and political philosophy, health care economics, public policy, and social justice. Policymakers and health care professionals involved in designing policy or position statements for professional organizations should look to this carefully argued and level-headed analysis of the arguments for and against the permissibility of selling organs."—Ana Iltis, Assistant Professor, Center for Health Care Ethics, Saint Louis University, and Author of Institutional Integrity in Health Care

"Mark Cherry's book is the definitive treatment of the bioethical and business ethics questions that have been raised about a market in organs. It is must reading for anyone interested in these issues, and it will be the basis for all future discussion of this topic."—Nicholas Capaldi, Legendre-Soule Distinguished Chair in Business Ethics, Loyola University New Orleans


Supplemental Materials


One of 34 jackets or covers selected for the 2006 Book, Jacket, and Journal Show of the American Association of University Presses. Selected for 2017 Doody’s Core Titles™

About the Author

Mark J. Cherry is the Dr. Patricia A. Hayes Professor in Applied Ethics and professor of philosophy at St. Edward’s University, Austin, Texas. He is editor of The Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, associate senior editor of Christian Bioethics, and editor-in-chief of HealthCare Ethics Committee Forum. He is coeditor of the book series The Annals of Bioethics and editor of the book series Philosophical Studies in Contemporary Culture.

280 pp., 6 x 9

ISBN: 978-1-58901-040-6
Mar 2005

280 pp., 6 x 9

ISBN: 978-1-62616-293-8
Mar 2005

280 pp.

ISBN: 978-1-58901-355-1
Mar 2005

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