Social Theory and Practice

Volume 41, Issue 1, January 2015

Alida Liberman
Pages 131-148

A Promise Acceptance Model of Organ Donation

I aim to understand how the act of becoming an organ donor impacts whether it is permissible for a family veto to override an individual’s wish to donate. I argue that a Consent Model does not capture the right understanding of donor autonomy. I then assess a Gift Model and a Promise Model, arguing that both fail to capture important data about the ability to revoke one’s donor status. I then propose a Promise Acceptance Model, which construes becoming an organ donor as accepting a promise the state makes to you to use your organs. This model, which implies that family vetoes are impermissible, captures the data other models struggle to accommodate.