Magi Sque and Sheila Payne
The preceding chapters have discussed current issues in organ donation and transplantation and provided a detailed evidence base to support good practice for health professionals and others working in this field. Richardson set the context for the book by providing a historical backdrop to organ donation and transplantation. The early chapters contributed theoretical insights that highlighted the tensions that may exist for potential donor families between giving 'the gift of life' or making a 'sacrifice', bereavement and the dissonant loss associated with organ donation. From the chapters that follow a picture emerges of organ and tissue donation and transplantation as a rapidly developing health care innovation at the cutting edge of biotechnological development and the human needs and controversies inherent in these developments.
This chapter will discuss the implications of further advances in new technologies to the development of organ donation and transplantation. It will provide an understanding of psychological and social issues that underpin these important health interventions. It will seek to highlight some of the ongoing and potential debates and areas of research, which individuals interested in and working in this developing health field should be aware of so that appropriate policies and health systems can be developed to protect and support families and individuals faced with choices about organ and tissue donation.
Human organ transplantation was undoubtedly one of the outstanding medico-surgical advances of the twentieth century offering individuals, facing certain death from end stage organ failure, a second chance of life. A victim of its own success means that the worldwide demand for viable organs has grown exponentially and donation rates have not kept pace with