Transplantation of organs from live persons may take place without any payment to the donors, and this involves relatively few moral problems. Gift donation appears to be widely accepted as a laudable and welcome form of benevolence. Even though an organ gift may entail some risk to the donor, his or her consent — provided that it is freely given and properly informed — renders such risk non-objectionable.
Gift donation cannot, however, be expected to fill the large and growing demand for transplant organs. Thus, the issue of a market in organs has for some years now been the subject of ethical and legal scrutiny, and has been addressed by (generally prohibitive) legislation. What follows is intended as a critical survey, focusing initially on organ-buying, and then on organ-selling.