A anesthesiologist prepares a kidney donor in the operating room for a kidney transplant at Johns Hopkins Hospital June 26, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland. The US Supreme Court is expected to announce their decision on the US President Barack Obama's healthcare law on June 28. AFP PHOTO/Brendan SMIALOWSKI

Few would argue with the importance of organ donation—138 million people in the U.S. have signed up as organ donors, and with more than 114 million Americans on the organ transplant waiting list as of August, the need for donors is greater than ever.

While typical complications for a recipient of a donated organ include rejection, surgery complications and infection, a recent case in the U.K. brought to light yet another risk even doctors couldn’t foresee: Donations by a woman with undiagnosed breast cancer resulted in four of the recipients of her organs contracting a “histologically similar” type of breast cancer over a period of 16 months to six years. Three out of four of them eventually died.

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A recent Wall Street Journal article describes a surge in imports of human semen from the United States into Brazil with a preference for sperm that will produce offspring with blue eyes and fair skin. This bias towards Caucasian traits is predicated on the belief that race has a profound impact on one’s economic standing in Brazil.

It is estimated that 80 percent of Brazil’s top wealthiest 1 percent are white. Unfortunately, there is a perceived correlation between social class and skin color in Brazil, which was the last Western country to ban slavery in 1888.

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