Organ donation is a complicated topic. There are cadaver donations and living donations. A living donor could be an exact match for the recipient. Or, mis-matched families can be brought together – for a paired donation. Perhaps a total stranger steps up as a good samaritan donor; this type of donation often begins a long chain of donations.
In addition to this variation in how a donation can happen, there are more complex issues. There are ethical concerns, and economic concepts to consider. And, we haven’t begun to talk about the laws governing organ donation.
The National Organ Transplant Act of 1968 is the grandfather of all organ donation laws. A couple times, it has been amended, and a few related bills have also become law. The law provides for the founding of national organizations – like the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network. Then, the regional and local organizations must administer organ donations, according to the identified guidelines.
For example, I met with a Transplant Social Worker at Clarian. She explained that Clarian Health Partners is an institutional member of the Indiana Organ Procurement Organization. Their daily work is governed by the policies and procedures, set forth by United Network for Organ Sharing.
To learn more about how this entire system works and how the nonprofits work in adherence to the current legal structure, I will be meeting with a staff person tomorrow at the Indiana Organ Procurement Organization.
*This research is for a class project at the School of Public and Environmental Affairs, Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis. The course, Civil Society and Public Policy, is taught by Professor Leslie Lenkowsky.