Ethical Issues in Transnational Eye Banking

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Abstract

Purpose:

To review ethical issues that may arise in the setting of transnational eye banking activities, such as when exporting or importing corneal tissue for transplantation.

Methods:

A principle-based normative analysis of potential common dilemmas in transnational eye banking activities was performed.

Results:

Transnational activities in eye banking, like those in other fields involving procurement and use of medical products of human origin, may present a number of ethical issues for policy makers and professionals. Key ethical concerns include the potential impact of export or import activities on self-sufficiency of corneal tissue supply within exporting and importing countries; potential disclosure requirements when obtaining consent or authorization for ocular tissue donation when donations may be exported; and difficulties inherent in assuring equity in the allocation of tissues available for export and in establishing and respecting standards of safety and quality across different jurisdictions.

Conclusions:

Further analysis of specific ethical issues in eye banking is necessary to inform development of guidelines and other governance tools that will assist policy makers and professionals to support ethical practice.

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