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Ethics of Organ Transplantation

2. Donation Systems

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In the second mini-lecture, we talk about the systems to acquire functional organs for donation. To do so, we develop the logic behind the modern established system of donation in the UK, by beginning with the problems of mandatory organ donation, before introducing the ‘opt-in’ system. We develop this thinking by discussing some of its issues if we want to maximise the number of available organs suitable for donation. Finally, we introduce the concept of presumed consent, or ‘opt-out’ systems, the scheme currently in place in most of the UK, and introduce some of the arguments against it.


In this course, Dr Greg Moorlock (University of Warwick) explores the ethics of organ transplantation. In the first module, we (i) introduce the terms of transplantation, organ failure, and the state of the art as it stands; before (ii) discussing how we obtain organs that are suitable for donation into other individuals, and potential governmental systems that can maximise the number of organs available in an ethical manner; and then (iii) introducing nuance into the definition of death, such as brain stem death and circulatory death, as well as the term irreversibility; before (iv) discussing the decisions made during organ allocation, and the outcomes that are generally considered pertinent and ‘out-of-bounds’; and then finally (v) introduce conditional donation.


Greg Moorlock is an Associate Professor, specialising in bioethics. He is Academic Lead for the Values, Law and Ethics Theme of the MBChB, and teaches extensively throughout all phases of the course. His main research interest is in the ethics of organ donation and transplantation. Greg's research to date has focussed on organ donation and transplantation, with his doctoral work looking at the ethics of conditional and directed organ donation. His first post-doctoral project explored the ethics of split liver transplantation. Following that he worked on the EU-funded SURVEILLE project, a project which explored the ethical and legal implications of surveillance.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Moorlock, G. (2022, August 30). Ethics of Organ Transplantation - Donation Systems [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Moorlock, G. "Ethics of Organ Transplantation – Donation Systems." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 30 Aug 2022,

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