Most People Would Sell a Kidney
You’ve heard the expression, “I’d give my right arm to …”
But when you get right down to it, almost no one really would. That’s because most people find it very useful to have a right arm. But a kidney is a different story. That is likely because a person can live a fairly normal life with just one kidney.
And so the results of a telephone survey of 427 male and 584 female registered and active U.S. voters – about 70% of whom were over age 45 – may not be all that surprising.
Overall, 68% said they’d donate a kidney to anyone, and 23% said they would donate only to certain people like relatives and friends. Another 9% said they would not donate.
But how would a payment of $50,000 affect their willingness to donate (although it ceretainly becomes less a “donation” at this point)? Well, 59% said it would make them more willing, 9% said it would make them less willing and 32% said it would have no effect.
We should note here that selling human organs is presently illegal in the U.S. Among the arguments against financial incentives is the idea that paying donors may lead to coercion and undue influence.
On the other hand, according to the American Journal of Nephrology, living donors incur out-of-pocket expenses averaging $5,000, and sometimes up to 4 times that. The transplant recipient’s insurance covers the donor’s medical expenses, but not transportation, lodging, childcare or lost wages.
The annual number of deaths that might have been prevented with a kidney transplant grew from about 5,000 in 2004 to about 7,600 in 2013, according to research published in JAMA Surgery.