Organ Donation. Yes or no?

Do you guys think that because of how many people donate organs and how many more people are on waiting lists for organs, that there should be rewards for this kind of thing?
I ask because I recently heard a podcast by Freakonomics on the subject, talking about how offering incentives would drastically increase the number of donations. Personally, I think the benefits versus the harms are fairly minimal, so I definitely think it should be done. I’d love to hear what you guys think!

Who would pay the incentives? Isn’t there some law against paying for organs? If the law was removed, then who would pay the incentives?

What I was considering was mostly an idea/version of a free market type of thing, with some restrictions to promote safety. Basically, to allow those who want to offer the rewards to offer them.
One real issue that I’ve noticed already is how this idea would really increase organ trafficking…

If you died and donated your organs, the government should reduce the tax on the transfer of your estate. By how much? Hire some consultants to assess the cost associated with NOT providing an organ transplant to someone, and then put some of that amount back into your estate. (Lump sum would probably be better than a tax cut, since some people have estate’s valued at $0 or less.)

Of course, getting an organ transplant (eg kidney) might still be more expensive than long-term treatment (eg dialysis). In which case… I’m not sure. But if it turns out that the government (or insurance companies) do in fact save money when someone donates their organes, then they (the government or insurance companies) should place a proportional amount into a fund that gets put towards your estate when you die.

Hospitals pay for blood, why shouldn’t they pay for organs? They’re going to make money on the resale (with installation charges).

Organ traffickers are already getting paid more for organs, um, in hand, than what the market would pay a living person for organ futures–which I think is what it would take to dramatically increase the number of registered donors.

They should make it compulsory where a person dies leaving usable organs. Or, at the very least, switch to the opt-out system used in places like Spain where you have to sign a card saying you don’t want your organs used if you die, rather than having to a sign a card saying you do.

People should absolutely be able to sell their organs.

Switch to the opt-out rather then the opt-in system. So, everyone is a donor unless they specifically said they don’t want to be, beforehand. Also, people opting out shouldnt be able to receive organs, either.

Opt-out systems of any kind leave a sour taste in my mouth.

It also strikes me as fundamentally unjust that the only person in the whole organ donation/transplant process who is not allowed to benefit is the one who actually provided the valuable organ in the first place.

I’m all for people being able to do whatever they want with their bodies while they’re alive, but my own thinking is that *after *they’re dead, they (and their families) shouldn’t really have any more say than anyone else. The previously-human meat should be used however it maximally benefits society as a whole, given the benefits the former inhabitant derived from being a member of society. So I guess I’m for mandatory public organ donation, no opt-out.

Can we grind them up for dog food? :eek:

For the record I am a registered donor but also don’t like the presumption of ownership by the state

I thought I read somewhere that paying for blood donations made the number of people who donate go down, not up. Currently in the US they do not pay for blood donation, only for plasma, because paying for blood made the number of donors with hepatitis go up.

Even an opt-out system strikes me the wrong way. There is never a point, even after you are dead, where the state owns your body.


Who should own your body after you die? Since it can’t be you… it would have to be your children, or whomevery you put in your will?

What about people whose culture or religion forbids them from donation because they believe that removing organs and tissue desecrates the body after death? For example, many Orthodox Jews won’t even allow autopsies because something might be left out. In a society that values religion, how can we justify forcing them to donate?

Don’t get me wrong; I’m an organ donor and my wishes have been made very clear to my family, but not everyone views this kind of altruism as a good thing.

Organ brokers do not sell organs, but they do charge processing fees. I believe I am entitled to do the same. I have been processing my organs for 56 years, so somebody has to pay the fee.

I’m pretty sure that’s not maximal efficient use of human body parts.

We’re not talking ownership any more than the state removing the trash means it’s asserting ownership of the trash. It’s a waste processing and recycling issue, not a goods one. Or it should be.

I have bolded where the problem lies.

I mean, how would Orthodox Jews cope in a society where cremation was the only viable “burial” method, like a small island?

But they’re wrong.

Where I come from, hospitals do not pay for blood and do not charge to install donated organs. So yeah, I’ll stick firmly in the “those things should not be paid” corner.

So the people who collect, store, and transport the blood make no money? There is no profit, period?

Hospitals certainly pay the Red Cross for blood, about $150 per pint, though the Red Cross doesn’t pay donors. Given the recent rise in people wanting to sell plasma, I suspect paying blood donors would be similarly productive. I don’t see why payment should make plasma donation easier and blood donation harder at the same time, nor why there should be a distinction in the ethics of each practice.

All donated blood is tested for hepatitis, among other things, anyway. So make payment dependent on a clean draw. Known infected persons won’t bother, and the discovery of an unknown infection is a public health benefit.

Right, “processing fees.”

I am quite certain that Spanish surgeons do not do transplants for free. Possibly they and their hospitals don’t make as much money on the deal as their American counterparts do.

Are there times when an autopsy is mandatory and the family has no say? Can an autopsy be forced if it is necessary in the determination of whether a crime has been committed?

Also, I don’t think anyone is suggesting there not be an opt-out clause. The idea is just to change it so it is no longer the default. If someone wishes to not be donor, sign the card or whatever and be done with it. I do like the idea, though, that if you aren’t a donor yourself you can’t be a recipient.