Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy

, Volume 12, Issue 3, pp 323–331 | Cite as

Just love in live organ donation

  • Kristin ZeilerEmail author
Scientific Contribution


Emotionally-related live organ donation is different from almost all other medical treatments in that a family member or, in some countries, a friend contributes with an organ or parts of an organ to the recipient. Furthermore, there is a long-acknowledged but not well-understood gender-imbalance in emotionally-related live kidney donation. This article argues for the benefit of the concept of just love as an analytic tool in the analysis of emotionally-related live organ donation where the potential donor(s) and the recipient are engaged in a love relation. The concept of just love is helpful in the analysis of these live organ donations even if no statistical gender-imbalance prevails. It is particularly helpful, however, in the analysis of the gender-imbalance in live kidney donations if these donations are seen as a specific kind of care-work, if care-work is experienced as a labour one should perform out of love and if women still experience stronger pressures to engage in care-work than do men. The aim of the article is to present arguments for the need of just love as an analytic tool in the analysis of emotionally-related live organ donation where the potential donor(s) and the recipient are engaged in a love relation. The aim is also to elaborate two criteria that need to be met in order for love to qualify as just and to highlight certain clinical implications.


Live organ donation Ethics Love The just Choice Gender 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Tema Health and Society, Department of Medicine and Health SciencesLinköping UniversityLinkopingSweden

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