Health Policy

UK Considers Paying Organ Donors

A bioethics council has launched a public consultation to determine if egg and sperm donors should be given cash incentives to address a severe shortage of organ donors in the UK. The Nuffield Council on Bioethics has launched a public consultation to look at whether or not people think it is right that donors should receive payments or other incentives, such as payment of funeral costs. At present, paying people to donate most organs, beyond offering modest expenses, is currently illegal in the UK to prevent encouraging people to take risks, but a shortage has forced many patients to look for treatment overseas. According to the council, incentives could also be non-financial, such as offering letters of thanks, T-shirts, mugs or vouchers, or allowing future donors to jump the queue for transplants should they need the in later life. The council’s public consultation will run for three months. It is expected to publish its findings towards the end of 2011.

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