Transplant tourism: a literature review on development, ethical and law issues


Objectives: This study aims to narratively review the progression of ethical and legal issues related to transplant tourism.

Methods: PubMed search and Google search with keywords were used in March 2022 to identify relevant studies and law documentation.

Results: The progression of transplant tourism was classified into three main periods. Before 2000, the most popular destination country was India (1,308 cases), this period was characterized by the absence of laws and regulations worldwide. The period from 2000 to 2010 was the peak explosion of transplant tourism, China became the most popular destination of tourists (7,591 cases). This triggered alarms by World Health Organization (WHO) resolution in 2004 and Istanbul declaration in 2008 calling for regulations to prohibit transplant tourism. From 2010 till today, additional scientific publications reported several complications in overseas transplanted patients. Laws and regulations restricting transplant tourism were promulgated by many countries such as Israel, Taiwan, Spain and others.

Conclusions: Transplant tourism is considered as illegal worldwide. WHO and many developed countries announced laws and measures to prevent this activity. The incidence of transplant tourism is currently decreasing, continued efforts should persist to end this criminal act. 

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