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AST Endorses Istanbul Declaration to End Organ Trafficking and Transplant Tourism

American Society of Transplantation Admonishes Citizens of Rich Nations To

End Reliance on Donors in Less Affluent Nations

MT. LAUREL, N.J., Aug. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- The American Society of Transplantation (AST) endorses The Declaration of Istanbul on Organ Trafficking and Transplant Tourism. The Declaration of Istanbul affirms the principles and practices adopted on May 2, 2008, at an International Summit of more than 150 healthcare professionals, officials, scientists, ethicists and legal scholars from 78 countries and 20 international organizations. Among the members of the Steering Committee are AST members Francis L. Delmonico, M.D., William Harmon, M.D., and Mohamed H. Sayegh, M.D. Dr. Harmon attended the International Summit on Transplant Tourism and Organ Trafficking in May as the AST's representative.

The Declaration aims to combat organ commercialism and to preserve the protection and safety of living organ donors. The message underlying the creation of the Declaration is that the success of transplantation as a life-saving treatment does not require-nor justify-victimizing the world's poor as the source of organs. The Declaration calls for countries to implement programs that will prevent organ failure and to meet the organ needs of its citizens from within its own population.

AST President Barbara Murphy, M.D., stated, "The AST condemns all unethical practices to secure organ donations and strongly encourages countries to adopt practices that ensure dignity and justice in the practice of organ donation."

The Scope of the Problem

With the increasing use of the Internet and the willingness of patients in rich countries to travel and purchase organs, organ trafficking and transplant tourism have become global problems. Vulnerable and marginalized populations such as the poor, illiterate, prisoners, and political refugees in impoverished countries have been enlisted as donors with the promise of compensation, and sometimes against their will.

The Declaration of Istanbul condemns this practice and outlines a number of steps that can help increase organ donation and ensure the protection and safety of living donors.

About AST

The AST is an organization of transplant professionals dedicated to research, education, advocacy and patient care in transplantation science and medicine. The society comprises more than 2,800 transplant physicians, surgeons, scientists and allied health professionals. For more information about AST visit

Contact: Beth Drost


SOURCE The American Society of Transplantation
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