Just Love in Live Organ Donation
Medicine, Health Care, and Philosophy 2009 August; 12(3): 323-331
Emotionally-related live organ donation is different from almost all other medical treatments in that a family member or, in some countries, a friend contributes with an organ or parts of an organ to the recipient. Furthermore, there is a long-acknowledged but not well-understood gender-imbalance in emotionally-related live kidney donation. This article argues for the benefit of the concept of just love as an analytic tool in the analysis of emotionally-related live organ donation where the potential donor(s) and the recipient are engaged in a love relation. The concept of just love is helpful in the analysis of these live organ donations even if no statistical gender-imbalance prevails. It is particularly helpful, however, in the analysis of the gender-imbalance in live kidney donations if these donations are seen as a specific kind of care-work, if care-work is experienced as a labour one should perform out of love and if women still experience stronger pressures to engage in care-work than do men. The aim of the article is to present arguments for the need of just love as an analytic tool in the analysis of emotionally-related live organ donation where the potential donor(s) and the recipient are engaged in a love relation. The aim is also to elaborate two criteria that need to be met in order for love to qualify as just and to highlight certain clinical implications.
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