Defaults and Donation Decisions
Transplantation, Vol. 78, No. 12, pp. 1713-1716
4 Pages Posted: 7 Jan 2009
Date Written: December 2004
The well-documented shortage of donated organs suggests that greater effort should be made to increase the number of individuals who decide to become potential donors. We examine the role of one factor: the no-action default for agreement. We first argue that such decisions are constructed in response to the question, and therefore influenced by the form of the question. We then describe research that shows that presumed consent increases agreement to be a donor, and compare countries with opt-in (explicit consent) and opt-out (presumed consent) defaults. Our analysis shows that opt-in countries have much higher rates of apparent agreement with donation, and a statistically significant higher rate of donations, even with appropriate statistical controls. We close by discussing the costs and benefits associated with both defaults as well as mandated choice.
Keywords: Organ donation, Decision, Defaults, Policy
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