Study recommends financial compensation for organs to boost donor numbers
Published Monday, November 5, 2012 5:24PM CST
Last Updated Monday, November 5, 2012 7:44PM CST
A new survey from Alberta researchers is recommending cash incentives for organs to encourage more people to sign donor cards.
Calgary doctor Braden Manns of the Libin Cardiovascular Institute of Alberta co-authored the study that found paying donors could increase donation rates.
Under the current opt-in organ donation system in Canada, many people die waiting for a transplant.
According to Transplant Manitoba, there are about 200 people in the province on dialysis, waiting for kidney transplants. Some of those patients will not survive the wait.
“Somewhere around 20 per cent of people on wait lists for certain organs are dying waiting for those organs,” said Dr. Brendan McCarthy of Transplant Manitoba.
Despite donation education campaigns and the occasionally celebrity endorsement, not enough organs are being donated to fill the need.
Manns' study recommends paying donors to fill that need. Manns' study surveyed more than 2,500 members of the public, health professionals and people waiting for transplants. The study found 70 per cent of respondents would support paying deceased donors’ families for organs.
The number dips to 40 per cent for paying living donors for organs.
Arthur Schafer is an ethicist who works with the Centre for Professional and Applied Ethics. The payment for organs idea, Schafer said, is troubling.
“Frankly I think it would be bordering on obscene to offer financial compensation to the mother whose child has just died,” said Schafer. “I think there are substantial ethical concerns.”
McCarthy isn’t in favor of the idea either. Instead, he thinks people could use more encouragement to make an altruistic donation.
“There are people dying on the wait list, and at some point that may be you,” said McCarthy. “It could be one of us or it could be a loved one.”
If you would like to be an organ donor, you can visit Transplant Manitoba’s website, Sign Up For Life.