The use of human tissue for transplantation is becoming a billion-dollar business. This book is the first comprehensive exploration of the American tissue transplantation industry. It traces the chain of distribution of musculoskeletal tissue (e.g. bones and ligaments) and skin from the generous donation of grieving families to its transplantation into hundreds of thousands of persons each year. Commodification, commercialization, and the occasional use of tissue for "cosmetic" surgery have raised ethical questions about the acceptability of "markets" in human body parts that have been altruistically donated by families. Inevitably, questions about the informed consent and the need for responsible stewardship by the industry have been raised, often in the Press.
The book provides a comprehensive background to these ethical problems by explaining the historical development, breadth, and organization of the tissue industry, including the technical developments that have made it simultaneously clinically relevant and an attractive market for investment capital. It explores the similarities and differences in how government regulates other tissues and solid organs (such as hearts and kidneys). Contributions to the book come from an interdisciplinary group of scholars, industry representatives, government regulators, and, not least, families who have donated tissue from their dead loved ones.
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