A discussion in the latest issue of American Journal of Transplantation proposes a practical way of navigating the murky ethical waters of financial compensation for kidney donation.
Strict law, in the form of The National Organ Transplant Act of 1984, forbids “valuable consideration” being offered for a human organ. But the lead author of the article, Robert S. Gaston, M.D., recognizes that people who donate kidneys assume real financial and heath risks, and says that a middle ground can be found.
Dr. Gaston and his colleagues proposed a package that would cost the government between $23,000 and $32,000 per donor, but the expense would be much less than the long-term dialysis and other hospital expenses for patients.
Up to 40 percent of potential kidney donors decide against going through with the procedure due to financial concerns and the mortality rate of people on the waiting list for a new kidney has increased by over 20 percent over the last 4 years.
The team that came up with the plan said that by assessing the true risk to donors, all parties can benefit and lives can be saved.