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Am J Transplant. 2014 Aug;14(8):1740-3. doi: 10.1111/ajt.12770. Epub 2014 May 19.

Organ transplantation for nonresidents of the United States: a policy for transparency.

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New England Organ Bank, Waltham, MA.


A policy proposal relating to transplantation of deceased donor organs into nonresidents of the United States was jointly sponsored by the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN)/United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) International Relations and Ethics Committees and approved by the OPTN/UNOS Board in June 2012. The proposal followed prior acceptance by the Board of the definitions of "travel for transplantation" and "transplant tourism" and the introduction in March 2012 of revised data collection categories for transplant candidates who are neither citizens nor residents. The most important aspect of the new policy concerns replacement of the previous so-called "5% rule" with the review of all residency and citizenship data and the preparation of a public annual report. The new policy does not prohibit organ transplantation in nonresidents. However, the policy and public data report will ensure transparency and support transplant center responsibility to account for their practices. Since the adoption of the policy, the first 19 months of data show that less than 1% of new deceased donor waitlist additions and less than 1% of transplantation recipients were non-US citizen/nonresidents candidates who traveled to the United States for purposes of transplantation. By adopting this policy, the US transplant community promotes public trust and serves as an example to the international transplant community.


Ethics; Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network; international; policy; public trust; transparency; transplant tourism

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