Warning over UK's 'organ tourists'

Inthenews.co.uk | 2008-08-15

Britons travelling abroad for organ transplants may be receiving organs from donors who have not given their consent, the chief executive of the Human Tissue Authority (HTA) has warned.

The call comes as a group of experts say organ trafficking and transplant tourism have become "global problems".

"In the UK, there are people who have been waiting a long time for a transplant and people die waiting for an organ," Adrian McNeil told politics.co.uk.

"In this climate, some people consider going abroad to pay for a transplant operation.

"It is not an offence for a person in the UK to seek medical treatment abroad, but patients seeking this route might find it difficult to assure themselves both of the quality and safety of the transplant and whether the donor has given fully informed consent," he continued.

Governments worldwide are being urged to safeguard against transplant commercialism after a declaration opposing it was signed earlier this year.

A new warning published yesterday in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology calls for an end to the illicit sale of human organs and the treating of organs as a commodity.

It also states that 'organ tourists' – rich patients travelling to other countries to secure transplants – are undermining a country's ability to provide organs for its own population.

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