Organ donation is the donation of biological tissue or an organ of the human body, from a living or dead person to a living recipient in need of a transplantation. Transplantable organs and tissues are removed in a surgical procedure following a determination, based on the donor's medical and social history, of which are suitable for transplantation. Such procedures are termed allotransplantations, to distinguish them from xenotransplantation, the transfer of animal organs into human bodies. As of June 21, 2013, there are 118,617 people waiting for life-saving organ transplants in the U.S. Of these, 96,645 await kidney transplants.
Organ trade is the trade involving inner human organs (heart, liver, kidneys, etc.) for organ transplantation. There is a worldwide shortage of organs available for transplantation, yet commercial trade in human organs is illegal in all countries except Iran. The problem of illegal organ trafficking is widespread, although data on the exact scale of the organ market is difficult to obtain. Whether or not to legalize the organ trade, and the appropriate way to combat illegal trafficking, is a subject of much debate.
Medical ethics is a system of moral principles that apply values and judgments to the practice of medicine. As a scholarly discipline, medical ethics encompasses its practical application in clinical settings as well as work on its history, philosophy, theology, and sociology.
Organ transplantation is the moving of an organ from one body to another or from a donor site to another location on the patient's own body, for the purpose of replacing the recipient's damaged or absent organ. The emerging field of regenerative medicine is allowing scientists and engineers to create organs to be re-grown from the patient's own cells (stem cells, or cells extracted from the failing organs). Organs and/or tissues that are transplanted within the same person's body are called autografts. Transplants that are recently performed between two subjects of the same species are called allografts. Allografts can either be from a living or cadaveric source.
Organs that can be transplanted are the heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, pancreas, intestine, and thymus. Tissues include bones, tendons (both referred to as musculoskeletal grafts), cornea, skin, heart valves, nerves and veins. Worldwide, the kidneys are the most commonly transplanted organs, followed by the liver and then the heart. Cornea and musculoskeletal grafts are the most commonly transplanted tissues; these outnumber organ transplants by more than tenfold.