Property Right to DNA and Tissues

PropertyRight to DNA and Tissues

Question1: Property right to DNA and tissues

Technologicaladvances have resulted in viable solutions to different medicalproblems. Most importantly, the use of the human genome to enhancethe human understanding of the development of different diseases hasproven to be critical in the modern world. However, the issue of theright of ownership of different tissues and DNA content collected inscientific laboratories is still controversial. Scientists, on onehand, claim the ownership of the tissues and DNA content collected intheir facilities. Patients, on the other hand, claim that they havethe right to their DAN and tissue collected from their bodies(Skloot, 2010). Although the process of collecting tissues and DNA isintended to improve human life, the basic principle of ethics(including respect for patients’ autonomy, cultural practices, andthe right to give consent) in research should be observed and thepatient’s right of tissue and DNA ownership respected.

Seekingfor an informed consent from clients in any scientific research andprocedure is no longer a debatable issue in the modern world. Theright to give an informed consent is based on the notion that theclient retains the ownership of their tissues and the DNA content.Figueroa (2007) emphasized on the significance of human dignity whilediscussing one’s right to die. In the example, of Henrietta Lacksgiven by Rebecca Skloot (2010), scientists took samples of cancerouscells without the patients consent. This is unethical anddemonstrates the lack of respect for right of clients to be informedand to give consent before participating in any scientific research.Although the outcome of the research conducted on Lack’s cells arebeing celebrated to date, bypassing scientific procedure and theright of clients to give consent raises ethical concerns to date.These ethical concerns confirm that people believe in the right toown their tissues and DNA.

Theprinciple of client’s autonomy in health care and research holdsthat patients have the right to make significant decisions regardingtheir health and life as well. Based on this concept, it would onlybe considered ethical to give patients the right to decide whethertissues and the DNA that is extracted from their bodies can be usedin research. While exploring the issue of client’s autonomy in thecontext of euthanasia Jordan (2004) gave an example of Mr. Sapedro,who smiled while committing suicide because he felt satisfied andrelieved from the medical and psychological challenges he was goingthrough. Similarly, people should be given the autonomy to determinethe fate of their lives and how their DNA and tissues collected fromtheir body are going to be used. The demand for autonomy confirmsthat people retain the ownership of tissues and DNA content.

Apartfrom observing the patient’s the right to give consent andautonomy, researchers should consider other issued, includingreligious beliefs and cultural practices when collecting tissues andDNA content for research. Different cultural groups have differentpractices and perceptions about human life and the human body(Jacques, 2015). In addition, different religious group considers thehuman body to be sacred and deserving respect (Carver, 2015).Therefore, religious and cultural sensitivity are critical factorsthat should not be ignored in scientific procedures. Although somepeople may not attach any value to DNA and tissues that have alreadybeen extracted from their bodies, people from some cultures andreligious groups may still claim the right of ownership to thosetissues and DNA contents. In conclusion, human beings should have thefundamental right of ownership of their tissues and the DNA content,which means that scientists should seek for an informed consentbefore using these biological samples in research.

Question2: Question in a presentation

Presentation:Donate life, Organ transplant

Thepresentation “Organ transplant” raises an important and adebatable question. The question goes like this, “Who thinks it’sethical to give inmates on death row the option to donate organs?”This question provokes the ongoing debate on the ethical grounds ofgiving the inmates an opportunity to donate the organs instead ofdying with them. The camp that supports the idea of allowing theinmates on the death row to give out their organs have three majorreasons to support their opinion. First, donating organs will savemany lives. This idea is based on statistics showing that about 21people die in the United States on a daily basis while waiting to getorgans (Hotz, McCafferty &amp Zuk, n. d.). Therefore, including theinmates on death row as potential donors will increase the numberorgans, thus saving lives.

Secondly,it is argued that if someone of definitely going to die, then what isthe reason for not donating the organs to those in need (Hotz,McCafferty &amp Zuk, n. d.). In essence, this type of argument isbased on the notion that letting the inmates die with their organswhile there is a large number of sick people in need of these organsis a waste. Therefore, allowing the inmates to donate organs beforedeath will give them an opportunity to feel that they have at leastdone something import before they die.

Third,there is an ample time for matching the organs of inmates andpotential recipients. This argument is based on the idea that inmateson death row take sometime in prison before they are executed, whichgives the health care professionals to match their organs with thepatients in order to determine compatibility. Therefore, inmates canbe reliable sources of organs for transplant than the general public.

Althoughallowing inmates on death row to donate organs has a lot of benefitsto the society, there are several concerns that need to be addressedbefore such a decision can be implemented. First, some patients mayfeel uncomfortable when they learn that they will spend the rest oftheir lives with an organ of inmate (Hotz, McCafferty &amp Zuk, n.d.). Although some inmates on death row may be willing to donatetheir organs, very few, if any patient will be willing to acceptthose organs. Therefore, it would be advisable for the stakeholdersto consider alternative methods of addressing the issue of theshortage of organs instead of relying on inmates on death row.

Secondly,the debate on the importance of allowing inmates on death row todonate their organs can create a perception that the judicial systemis giving such rulings in order to address the issue of organshortage (Hotz, McCafferty &amp Zuk, n. d.). This is a debate thatshould be approached with a lot of care and sensitivity in order toprotect the integrity of the health care system as well as thejudicial system.

Third,very few health care facilities, if any, would like to get involvedwith transplantation of organs of inmates on death row. For example,some hospitals may refuse to take part in the process oftransplanting these organs give the perception of the general publicthat transplanting organs of inmates is unethical.

Inconclusion, the presentation “Organ transplant” raises somecritical issues that the stakeholders in the health sector and thejudicial system should address before allowing inmates on death rowto donate organs. This debate is based on the ethics behind givingperpetrators of serious crimes, who have been sentenced to death anoption to give their organs to innocent patients. Although theseorgans can save many lives, a decision to transplant organs ofinmates should be reconsidered.



Carver,R. (2015). Raymond Carver: What the doctor said. CasaPoem.Retrieved May 4, 2015, from

Figueroa,D. (2007). Rights to die with dignity: Ramon Sampedro’s will. ComClass.Retrieved May 4, 2015, from

Jacques,L. (2015). The collection online. TheMetropolitan Museum Art.Retrieved May 4, 2015, from

Jordan,G. (2004). Into the life of a man fighting for the right to die. TheNew York Times.Retrieved May 4, 2015, from

Skloot,R. (2010). Theimmoral life of Henrietta Lacks.New York, NY: Broadways Books.


Hotz,T., McCafferty, K., &amp Zuk, N. (n. d.). Donatelife: Organ transplant.Presentation.