Matching Organs with Donors

Legality and Kinship in Transplants

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While the traffic in human organs stirs outrage and condemnation, donations of such material are perceived as highly ethical. In reality, the line between illicit trafficking and admirable donation is not so sharply drawn. Those entangled in the l

While the traffic in human organs stirs outrage and condemnation, donations of such material are perceived as highly ethical. In reality, the line between illicit trafficking and admirable donation is not so sharply drawn. Those entangled in the legal, social, and commercial dimensions of transplanting organs must reconcile motives, bureaucracy, and medical desperation. Matching Organs with Donors: Legality and Kinship in Transplants examines the tensions between law and practice in the world of organ transplants—and the inventive routes patients may take around the law while going through legal processes.

In this sensitive ethnography, Marie-Andrée Jacob reveals the methods and mindsets of doctors, administrators, gray-sector workers, patients, donors, and sellers in Israel's living kidney transplant bureaus. Matching Organs with Donors describes how suitable matches are identified between donor and recipient using terms borrowed from definitions of kinship. Jacob presents a subtle portrait of the shifting relationships between organ donors/sellers, patients, their brokers, and hospital officials who often accept questionably obtained organs.

Jacob's incisive look at the cultural landscapes of transplantation in Israel has wider implications. Matching Organs with Donors deepens our understanding of the law and management of informed consent, decision-making among hospital professionals, and the shadowy borders between altruism and commerce.

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