Three-dimensional (3D) printing is no longer restricted to simple inanimate objects; that conjecture is a thing of the past. With advancements in many areas of science, living tissues and organs can now be printed through a technique called 3D bioprinting. This technology could potentially save the lives of the 120,000 Americans in need of an organ transplant. However, whether or not a 3D bioprinted organ qualifies as a “human organ” under the National Organ Transplant Act (NOTA) and whether 3D bioprinted organs require federal approval could either delay or completely bar this technology’s promise. The Ninth Circuit’s Flynn v. Holder and Richards v. Holder and the federal approval requirement for lab-grown organs bolster the interpretation that a manufactured organ would be a “human organ.” The ethical ramifications of 3D bioprinting might also detract from the benefits it promises to offer. If and until the federal government approves it, private creation and selling of 3D bioprinted organs would exacerbate organ selling on the black market. With increasing progressive ventures in medicine, it may be an appropriate time for Congress to amend NOTA.
Smith, Katherine A.
""Transplanting" Organ Donors with Printers: The Legal and Ethical Implications of Manufacturing Organs,"
Akron Law Review: Vol. 49
, Article 5.
Available at: http://ideaexchange.uakron.edu/akronlawreview/vol49/iss3/5