This Would Be A Brilliant Way To Increase Organ Donations

Photo: ABC

You might not be able to sell your kidneys (legally, anyway) but plenty of Americans would be willing to donate an organ or two – for a price. A new NPR-Thomson Reuters Health Poll shows 41 per cent of consumers would take cash for organ donations. The majority (60 per cent) said donations should be rewarded in the form of health care credit. 

Seems like a fair enough trade and an idea the health care industry should take into consideration, given the growing shortage of organ donors. There are more than 114,000 people waiting for organs in the U.S., according to the federal government’s Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network, the majority of whom are in line for kidneys.

When asked who should foot the bill for organ payment, 72 per cent of respondents named health insurers, while 62 per cent chose private charities, and 44 per cent said the federal government. 

It could work, but as a society, we’ve sort of been socialized to think of organ donation as an act of heroism – not a drugstore transaction. 

But Dr. Stuart Youngner, a bioethicist at Case Western Reserve University’s med school, told NPR’s Scott Hensley it’s time for change.

 “I think the market has become such an important guiding principle in so many areas of lives, including health care, that it becomes harder to say why shouldn’t a person who donates organs make some money too,” he said. “Altruism is very, very important, but in this case, the lives of people are very, very important.”

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