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Kidney Transplantation: Past, Present, and Future

Should donors' families be compensated?

Question was submitted by: on 6/30/95.

Question:
 Should organ donors and their families (if organ donor has died) be
be compensated for the donation?
Answer:
 This is not a question that can be given proper treatment in a short answer. It raises many ethical issues, and people have many varying opinions on it.
Some people argue that donation without compensation is not producing enough donors (see "Organ Donations: The Failure of Altruism" by Linda C. Fentiman in Issues in Science and Technology, Fall 1994), and we must do everything possible (including paying donors' families) to increase the numbers of organs for transplantation.
Others counter that compensating donors' families could result in a "slippery slope" effect, and that it would reflect badly on transplant centers and procurement agencies.
We will try to address this issue further on TransWeb in the future.

Eleanor Jones (transplant_webmaster@umich.edu)

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