Reply Alireza Bagheri

- Masahiro Morioka
CIAS, Osaka Prefecture University,
Gakuencho, Sakai, Osaka, 599-8531 Japan
International Network for Life Studies

Eubios Journal of Asian and International Bioethics 11 (2001), 196.
The first point is the ground for dividing age groups. As Alireza points out, there is no concrete ground for dividing a twelve-year-old child from an eleven-year-old child. However, do we have a ground for dividing 21 from 20, or 19 from 18? Every division made on a continuous process should be an arbitrary one. In Japan, most children go to elementary school at six, and junior high school at twelve; so in this sense our age grouping may have some empirical grounds, I hope.

Our idea was that if there is a child who can understand the concept of brain death and transplantation, and when he/she has a will to donate organs, then the adult should hear his/her opinion. But if he/she does not understand the concept or does not leave message, we must not take organs from a brain dead child body. Alireza talks about competency. We believe some children six years and over have an ability to understand brain death and transplantation. This is the reason for allowing these precocious children to donate their organs. This is the idea behind the Proposal A.

The idea behind the Proposal B is a different one. Of course some children between six and eleven may have an ability to understand the concept. However, there must be some children who simply follow their parents' opinion without considering by themselves. In the latter case, the 'real' opinion of the children remains unclear. Hence, it is very dangerous to allow such small children to write donor cards.

We had a public forum for discussing this topic, but we didn't reach consensus over this point. This is the reason for including both Proposal A and Proposal B simultaneously in our text. We know that our proposal is far from perfect. World bioethics has never discussed this point deeply. This is a big challenge for us.

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