Financial Compensation for Living Organ Donation in the United States: A View from the Would-Be Donors' Perspective
Posted: 8 Jun 2006
Date Written: April 2006
The issue of whether or not people should be compensated financially for organ donation continues to be one of the most divisive issues facing the transplant community. Various and distinguished scholars - including economists, theologians, philosophers, psychologists, physicians, and anthropologists - have weighed in on this debate in recent years. So too have lawyers, politicians, and other governmental officials. In Iran and India, living donors themselves have been given voice by Zargooshi and Goyal et al., whose compelling work has shown that "paid donation" in conditions of abject poverty can have disastrous consequences for the "donors." However, given the conditions in which these donations took place, there may be significant limitations to the generalizability of the findings, particularly with regard to their applicability to the case of paying for organs in the US. In this paper, we hope to shed light on the issue of paying for organs in the context of the US by giving voice to would-be donors in the US who were ruled out because of incompatibility. Toward that end, we provide an overview of the current state of the ethical debate on the issue of paying for organs and then present these ruled-out donors' opinions on various aspects of this issue. While recognizing that these findings do not definitively answer all the questions at hand, we think they represent important contributions that bring us closer to answering some of the critical questions that demand further empirical study, including whether paying for organs will achieve the presumed goal of increasing the number of suitable organs available for transplantation.
Keywords: organ transplant, commercialization, payment, living donors, coercion, exploitation, scarcity
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