Should donors be paid for their kidneys?
3rd August 2011
We’ve heard today that an academic from Dundee University is promoting the idea that people in the UK should be paid to become live kidney donors.
Sue Rabbitt Roff argues that it is time we explored the idea of 'regulated paid provision' for live kidneys - advocating a system where kidney donors in the UK would receive a standard payment, equivalent to the average annual income of around £28,000.
While Kidney Research UK is keen to see more people join the Organ Donor Register, the Charity does not support any system of ‘paid provision’.
Charles Kernahan, Chief Executive of Kidney Research UK, said: “Although we approve of compensating altruistic donors to insure they are not disadvantaged as a result of their decision, we do not condone any scheme whereby people receive a monetary reward in exchange for an organ.
“With 90 per cent of people on the organ transplant list waiting for a kidney, and a severe shortage of registered organ donors here in the UK, the demand for kidney transplants could not be higher. However, the decision to become a living organ donor is one which is extremely personal and should not be motivated, influenced or incentivised by the prospect of financial gain.
“If nothing else, there is huge potential for abuse and exploitation of vulnerable people within such a system – people who might have lost their jobs, be in severe debt or are under duress.
“We must look to curb the number of people in the UK who die while waiting for a kidney transplant. It is for this very reason that Kidney Research UK continues to work tirelessly to help fund further research into kidney disease. However, we would like to see alternatives such as altruistic donation and the implementation of an opt-out system explored to the fullest, before giving consideration to any system of ‘paid provision’.
“The number of altruistic organ donors continues to rise here in the UK, and an opt-out system for organ donation has proven to be highly effective in other European countries.
“We heard earlier this week that people applying for a driving license online will now have to answer a question about whether or not they wish to become organ donors. It’s this kind of positive approach to promoting organ donation that Kidney Research UK wish to see explored further, rather than simply paying people for their organs.”