As medical barriers to human organ transplants have fallen, serious legal and ethical obstacles have emerged. This article provides an overview of those obstacles, taking into account the relevant legislation in force in 16 Latin American countries in 1989. The author proceeds by considering postmortem and inter-vivos organ donations separately and examining the principal ethical and legal issues relating to each kind. In the case of postmortem donation these deal mainly with donor consent, recipient selection, funding of transplant costs, and possible conflict of interest. In the case of inter-vivos donation they relate again to donor consent and funding as well as to certain other matters-notably donor compensation, commerce in organs, and international sharing of organs. On the whole it is concluded that the countries of Latin America, together with the nations of the world in general, urgently need to develop more comprehensive legislation on organ procurement and transplantation.