Paying people for living kidney donations would increase the supply of the organs and would not result in a disproportionate number of poor donors [?!?], a study by researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and the Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center concludes.
-- From "Study: People would donate kidneys for payment" by Katharine Lackey, The News Leader (posted at USA TODAY) 3/30/10
The study, published this month in the Annals of Internal Medicine, asked 342 participants whether they would donate a kidney with varying payments of $0, $10,000 and $100,000. The study called for a real-world test of a regulated payment system.
The possibility of payments nearly doubled the number of participants in the study who said they would donate a kidney to a stranger, but it did not influence those with lower income levels more than those with higher incomes, according to Scott Halpern, one of the study's authors and senior fellow at the University of Pennsylvania's Center for Bioethics.
Though it is illegal to buy or sell any organ in the USA, payments are accepted for those who become surrogate mothers, donate eggs or participate in clinical research, Halpern says.
Lainie Ross, associate director of the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics at the University of Chicago, says she feels the findings are flawed because interviews were done with participants waiting for a commuter train and thus left out poorer people who don't have jobs. "The buying and selling of organs will be exploitative because we will end up buying organs from very poor people," Ross says.
Last year, 6,475 people died while on the waiting list for an organ transplant, and 4,476 were waiting for a kidney transplant, according to the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network, part of the Health and Human Services Administration.
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