ONLY ON AP Iran system allows cash for kidneys
Paying Kidney Donors May Trim Waiting List, Study Finds
Paying kidney donors ,000 could result in hundreds, if not more, new kidney donations every year, according to a new study.
By Amir Khan
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THURSDAY, Oct. 24, 2013 —Would you donate your kidney for ,000? While the ethics may be murky, according to a new study published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, instituting a program to pay kidney donors could increase the number of kidney donors by 5 percent or more – enabling hundreds, if not thousands, of people across the United States to get the kidney they desperately need.
Researchers from the University of Calgary in Canada created a model that looked at the cost-effectiveness of either the government or a third-party paying living kidney donors ,000, and found that doing so would result in a net savings of 0 per recipient and result in a greater quality of life if the number of transplants increased by 5 percent, which the researchers call a “conservative” estimate.
"Such a program could be cost saving because of the extra number of kidney transplants and, consequently, lower dialysis costs,” study author Lianne Barnieh, PhD, a post-doctoral fellow at University of Calgary, said in a statement. “Further, by increasing the number of people receiving a kidney transplant, this program could improve net health by increasing the quality and quantity of life for patients with end-stage renal disease.”
In the United States alone, nearly 100,000 people re on the waiting list for a kidney transplant, according to the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network, but there were only 16,813 kidney transplants performed in 2011, the latest year data is available for, with much more than 11,000 of those transplants coming from deceased donors.
“Numerous attempts have been made to increase the pool of potential donors and have included the introduction of deceased donor registries, national and local awareness campaigns, educational efforts, and paired exchange programs, among others,” the researchers wrote in the study. “However, transplantation rates have not increased over the last decade and the deceased donor waiting list continues to grow, particularly in the United States.”
“Given the increasing wait list, in order to address the shortage of organs, it is clear that new strategies need to be considered to increase the pool of potential donors,” they added.
However, setting up an incentive system such as this would not only be difficult, but illegal as well, said Stuart Flechner, MD, a kidney transplant surgeon with the Glickman Urological and Kidney Institute at Cleveland Clinic.
“Currently, it’s a felony to sell body parts, so it’s not possible to do this today,” Dr. Flechner said. “It sounds nice, and it sounds like it’d be reasonable, but you cross the barriers, both ethical and practical, when you conceptualize this.”
The major ethical issues, Flechner said, is that a system such as this would typically result in people selling their kidneys for fast cash, especially since the number of people suffering from kidney disease continues to grow.
“It’s done frequently in the third world,” he said. “It comes down to wealthy recipients buying organs from poor donors.”
But while he is not an advocate for giving donors cash payments, Flechner said that instituting a system like the one in Canada, where donors are reimbursed for expenses occurred as a result of donating, could be a viable solution.
“I think we should, as a society, support donors so they don’t feel like they’re being financially burdened,” he said. “Many suffer from life disruptions, such as of job security, short term disability, childcare and more.”
“Cash payments, however, would become a problem,” he added.
Video: What Actually Happens To Your Body When You Donate Your Organs?
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