Transplant Tourism in International Instruments and Domestic Law

Document Type : Original Article


1 Criminal Law and Criminology, Law Faculty, Shahid beheshti University, Tehran, Iran

2 Criminal Law and Criminalogy, Faculty of Law, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran



In the light of advances in organ transplantation, travel for transplantation has been surging with the passage of time. Travel for the purpose of transplantation is a legitimate behavior that in certain circumstances or in the event of committing some unethical or illegal conduct becomes "Transplant Tourism". Transplant tourism has expanded largely due to the weakness of national laws and the global shortage of organs. This phenomenon has been the subject of numerous international instruments in recent decades and its prohibition, prevention, and sometimes criminalization have been stressed in this regard. On the one hand, transplant tourism is related to "trafficking in persons for organ removal" and "organ trafficking", and there is a significant overlap between such phenomena. This entails a comprehensive approach in this area. On the other hand, transplant tourism is a transnational phenomenon, and thus the participation of members of the international community is necessary to address this problem. Nevertheless, Iran, as a member of the international community, lacks a suitable approach to transplant tourism. Due to the weakness of the domestic regulations and their distance from the international community's perspective, it is essential that the legislator be involved with the issue to anticipate an appropriate approach to tackling transplant tourism. Requirements for such an approach include the definition of transplant tourism, prevention of this phenomenon, and its criminalization, while taking into account the characteristics of this phenomenon and its perpetrators.

Keywords: transplant tourism, travel for transplantation, organ transplantation, organ trafficking


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