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In the United States, as well as throughout the world, current demands for organ transplants far exceed the actual supply. Nonconsensual human donations, taken from minors, incompetents and prisoners are regulated carefully by the courts. The Uniform Anatomical Gift Act and the National Organ Transplant Act serve also as statutory frameworks for organ retrievals and allocations and place various restrictions upon each. Altruistically motivated donations at death continue to be an inadequate mechanism for meeting the growing demands of the market. Included among the various approaches to resolving the critical shortage of human organs for transplantation are post mortem harvesting, escheatage, prospective contingent sales and standard death benefit payments – with the latter being perhaps the most attractive in the United States. While ethical and moral principles can help develop a construct for resolving harvesting and transplantation conflicts, they must be tempered – in the final analysis – by a standard of practical need that recognizes unnecessary suffering and premature death from diseased and replaceable organs as undesirable.



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