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Should there be a cash incentive for organ donation?

10:00 UK time, Tuesday, 20 April 2010


Cash incentives and the payment of funeral costs are among a range of suggested options to encourage human organ and tissue donation. Is this the right approach?

The Nuffield Council on Bioethics is carrying out a 12 week public consultation to find out if it is ethical to use cash incentives and the payment of funeral costs to increase donations of organs, eggs and sperm.

Demand for organ donors has increased in recent years and now far exceeds supply. Each year 1,000 people in the UK die while waiting for transplants.

Are cash incentives the right approach? Would a cash payment encourage you to donate? Are there other ways to increase the amount of people willing to donate their organs, eggs or sperm? Have you benefitted from organ donation, do you think this is ethical?

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This debate is now closed. Thank you for all your comments.

Comments

Page 1 of 3

  • Comment number 1.

    No cash payments are the wrong way to go, as it encourages the desperate to sell their organs.

  • Comment number 2.

    As for eggs or sperm the various ethical councils put the kaibosh on that by denying the anonymity of donors. They used the soap-opera style argument that everyone should know who their biological parent really is and the likes of our family envisioned someone turning up on the doorstep in 18 years' time saying "Hello mum" (or "dad" as the case may be). Not to mention having to pay maintenance if a couple broke up.

    As for cash for organs, sounds like it might tempt a few donors if they basically don't mind donation/transplant.

  • Comment number 3.

    There is no reason to offer any sort of incentive.I don't see why everyone shouldn't automatically be signed up. People are lazy and won't make the effort to sign up for organ donation, once you are dead you have no need for any organs. I don't care what happens to any of me once I am dead. I am on the register but not for any reason apart from I don't need the organs once I've gone. I have told my partner I am on the register, so that when the time comes there will be no faffing around waiting for a decision to be made. I donate blood for the same reason, it is something that is painless to do, takes minimal time and somebody's got to do it.

  • Comment number 4.

    Absoltely not .

    Everybodies organs should be automatically harvested at death (if needed), unless they feel strongly enough to actually opt out of the system.

    No cash incentive required.

  • Comment number 5.

    If the payment was strictly constrained to contributing to burial costs, I would be in favour.

  • Comment number 6.

    This is absolutely not the direction we should be travelling. Eggs and Sperm are different issues and I think they could be subject to cash incentive. The main problem with organ donation is the default position regarding donation. Donation should be an opt-out system, rather than an opt-in. Also there are many card carrying donors whose wishes are overruled by "family". If I carry a card why should that donation be overruled by my relatives?
    Thousands of organs are wasted while attempts are made to contact non-existent family to get their permission. In cases where there aren't any relatives who is there to complain?

  • Comment number 7.

    No. It has to be a purely altruistic gesture in consultation with the families concerned. Money changes the game entirely. What's to decide? Where are the ethics in meeting funeral costs? What do you say, "Give us your liver or it's the council tip for you when you die!"?

  • Comment number 8.

    Having been the recipient of an organ myself, this is an issue of great interest to me. From my perspective, all of the issues proposed here would be more complicated to implement and less effective in raising the number of potential donors than a system of assumed consent. Is assumed consent so controversial that these sort of issues need to be considered?

  • Comment number 9.

    No to cash. Organ donation should be voluntary. The desperately poor would donate for cash but it might not be voluntary. The rich would only donate for cash if they were irrationaly attracted to money, in which case they would not be making a voluntary decision.
    However, some countries have systems whereby live donors can receive expenses to cover time off work for recovery. Worth considering as long as pressure is not put on the financially deprived.

    However, there is a strong lobby among the bioethics community to introduce a market in organs. These guys got their university posts during the Thatcher era when market solutions were proposed for everything. They are still their parading their views on the media.

  • Comment number 10.

    Once I have departed this life, everyone else is welcome to anything that is of use on two conditions:

    1. That no money changes hands.
    2. That recipient selection is based solely on suitability (tissue matching) and medical need - no prioritising those on the donor register.

    If either condition is breached, I withdraw permission for the use of my remains.

  • Comment number 11.

    No. It's unethical. We should adopt an Assumed Consent stance instead, then people who really care enough about it can opt out.

    Paying people, post mortem, for their body parts is a horrific idea. What if someone fraudulently signs someone up so they don't have to pay for the cost of the funeral? It's like bodysnatching, and it's the most morbid sort of scam I could ever think of - and I bet it happens.

    Why do we have to be bought off in order to be altruistic? Is that even true? Are we that self absorbed as a country?

    The figures seem to support the observation that we are. How sad.

  • Comment number 12.

    NO WAY.

  • Comment number 13.

    the organ debate or articles in newspapers is something i alwasy read.
    my daughter ws killed 3 years ago and we had to make the decision whether to donate her organs. for us it was a decision as a mum, dad and sister we all agreed but id we didnt all agree then we wouldnt have been abel to give her organs this is the dilemma families face. although a difficult and traumatic time the nurses who have sat with you, held you , tried to save your daughters life they have the hard decision of asking would we be willing to donate her organs.
    organ donation was something we had spoke about(daughter was filling in form for driving licence) and my words to her where your organs are no good to you when you are dead. it didnt help at the time but we got a letter last xmas from someone who received our daughters organ thanking us for giving him a life as he would be dead. that made us proud of our daughter and the fact we had done the right thing. i hope this helps people who are interested in organ donation.

  • Comment number 14.

    "1. At 10:58am on 20 Apr 2010, David wrote:
    No cash payments are the wrong way to go, as it encourages the desperate to sell their organs"

    How does that work?

    Most people who donate organs fall into the medical category of "dead". People who are "dead" are not particularly noted as big spenders.

  • Comment number 15.

    Everyone should know who their biological parents are, just in case siblings meet, and start a family without knowing their ancestry.
    You only have to look at what some animal breeding has turned up, or what has happened in some of the isolated communities, to know it should be of concern.

  • Comment number 16.

    With people struggling to pay off personal debts which they have racked up to keep their heads above water in this government-driven recession and which are now spiralling out of control, this is an ideal opportunity to make a bit of money! I'm sure if you were to add up the cost of your kidney, maybe an eye or an ear, you would be able to pay off your credit card. Farcical idea which will lead to an expansion of the black market in organs (which already exists) and a new crime for the modern young criminal to try - knifing, then body stripping!!

  • Comment number 17.

    Organ donation should be made opt-out rather than opt-in. Most people wouldn't mind donating organs when they are dead but are too lazy to do anything about it.

    As for sperm/egg donation, simply make it anonymous again. There are plenty of people out there (myself included) who would donate if it could be guaranteed that the results of our altruism didn't turn up on our doorsteps 18 years later. Removing anonymonity was the stupidest thing they ever did.

  • Comment number 18.

    Currently I'm not registered and no amount of money would be a sufficient incentive for me to change that: the only thing that would is a world full of better people worth actually saving.

  • Comment number 19.

    To those who say the organ donor register should be changed to 'opt out', definitely not. My organs are mine, not the state's. We have far too much state interference in our lives as it is.

    As it happens, any of my body parts may be taken when I'm dead. I'll have no further use for them. But, other people may feel differently, and no-one should be put under any pressure to donate when they don't want to.

    If the system is changed, I'll opt out, because I deeply resent being told what to do. Most of us I believe aspire to live in a free society. It ceases to be free when the state takes it upon itself to decide what to do with our bodies when we're dead.

    My organs, my choice.

  • Comment number 20.

    They made a huge mistake when they abolished anonymity for egg and sperm donors. I'd have happily donated before, but not now.

    I don't want (previously) unknown children turning up on my doorstep thank you very much.

    All this business of the rights of the children is utter tosh.

  • Comment number 21.

    The changes in the law re-anonymity for the likes of sperm / eggs were truly not thought out hence the predicament we are in now. As for donors in general its always on my mind if recipients truly deserve such gifts? I'm sure many do but there's a lot that don't! One of the reason's why I stopped donating blood, what if private hospitals did not have access to such donations would they disappear overnight! Perhaps this would create a level playing field for all in relation to health care. This subject is a personal choice, cash incentives are wrong!!

  • Comment number 22.

    Sounds like a body-snatcher's charter to me: give us your organs and we'll pay for your funeral! Big deal!

  • Comment number 23.

    Interesting that it is assumed people can be 'bought', quite literally.

    "Would you donate your organs to help someone live after your death?"
    "No, I don't think so. I have some religeous/ethical concerns."
    "If I offered you £???.?? would your religeous/ethical concerns go away?

    They are MY (and yours are your) organs; if I choose to donate them it would be because I felt it is the 'right' thing to do, not because I got a good price surely? I think it is wrong to complicate a delicate moral decision with financial inducements, and shows a shocking degree of arrogance - I give you these shiny beads and I take your kidneys!

  • Comment number 24.

    Incentives would not be necessary if organ donation was handled properly.

    1) Organs belong to an individual, not to their family. The only permission that should matter is the individual's. Stop asking bereaved families for permission, it's not fair on them and it shouldn't be their decision.

    2) Ask everyone whether they want to opt-in or opt-out. Send out letters, put it on the census form, but ASK people directly and you will get more donors. It's just not appropriate to have optional tick-boxes on random application forms etc, as we've seen recently, there is potential for the data to get lost or misused or entered incorrectly. Have one centralised method of gathering the data and people will have more confidence in the register system.


    3) Don't ever dare to assume that it's okay to take what you want without asking people first. Automatic opt-in is a bad idea. People know their own bodies better than anybody else. I have a family history of heart disease and get occasional arrythmia and would never allow my heart to be harvested for that reason.

    I'm not on the donor register. Why not? A mixture of the factors above. Uncertainty that my wishes would be upheld by my family. Uncertainty that the data is collected properly. Uncertainty that my wishes regarding particular organs would be honoured. These are barriers to organ donation that could be easily removed. Fix them, and you can have my kidneys/pancreas etc with pleasure.

  • Comment number 25.


    My mother in law is on the waiting list and one day my wife will be too as they have a hereditary disease so I have a vested interest to see the increase in organ donantion however, I am not sure payments is the way to go.

    The "op out" system should be introduced for all. If you feel strongly against it opt out! Lets not let a few narrow minded individuals stop many thousands of life giving organs becoming availabe. Once you are gone...you are gone...!


  • Comment number 26.

    Although uneasy about the idea of selling, I do carry an organ donation card, without conditions on any use that may be made of any organ of mine after death. What use may be made of eyes which see the world perfectly just as long as the world is intended to be fuzzy, or of kidneys that work a little too well at times, or of ears whose favourite word is 'what', I really don't know. The brain, however, is in perfect condition, being still in its original packing, although a little serious updating may not go amiss. Oh yes, it's an opt-in system for me. Opt-out brings on feelings of paranoia.

  • Comment number 27.

    For 30 years I have been a Donor Card carrier, however recent world events and statistics have caused me to tear it up and remove myself from the Register...

    The Planet is overpopulated, the elderly are now living longer to the extend they will soon out number workers and (IF) man is having an effect on Global Warming we need to address these issues.

    Giving an organ to artificially 'save' or 'extend' a life is no longer viable for me. We are OVER MEDICATING these days and have to accept that loved ones will die, whether it is by accident, disease, old age etc, we have got to deal with the issue of Death and stop being afraid of it.

    There are limited resources on the planet, we need to deal with this issue seriously.

  • Comment number 28.

    #17. , SpacedOne wrote:
    "Organ donation should be made opt-out rather than opt-in. Most people wouldn't mind donating organs when they are dead but are too lazy to do anything about it.

    As for sperm/egg donation, simply make it anonymous again. There are plenty of people out there (myself included) who would donate if it could be guaranteed that the results of our altruism didn't turn up on our doorsteps 18 years later. Removing anonymonity was the stupidest thing they ever did."


    We should STOP all organ donation, it is already abused around the world, recent mistakes highlighted in the UK meant NON ORGAN Donor had organs removed and we need to stop this madness - we cannot live forever, we need to face up to reality and accept Death for what it is, it will come to us all one day.

    As for egg and sperm donation, I would BAN that as well. Nature has dictated that some of us are fertile or infertile for a reason. Maybe it's defective genes, maybe a random way of controlling population growth. Having children is NOT A RIGHT, it is a priviledge and there are thousands in care that need good loving homes.

    Both situations above are costing the NHS Millions in trying to prevent the inevitable, this is detrimental to thousands of people who have a life and yet suffer with non live threatening ailments because the NHS cannot afford the treatment.

  • Comment number 29.

    Oh yeh cos a competitive market in kidney's would be a great idea - not!

  • Comment number 30.

    I'd prefer to see 'presumed consent' for everyone, with an opt-out for those who object - that's likely to be the only really effective way of obtaining enough organs.
    However, if Britain persists in not adopting this solution, then help towards funeral costs would be a good way of acknowledging donors - not enough of an incentive to give rise to accusations of "selling organs", but a worthwhile reward to bereaved families at a difficult time.
    As many patients on the waiting list live on benefits, and receive frquent expensive medical care, the savings to the taxpayer would easily outweigh the cost of a contribution towards funeral expenses.

  • Comment number 31.

    10. At 11:46am on 20 Apr 2010, Megan wrote:
    Once I have departed this life, everyone else is welcome to anything that is of use on two conditions:

    1. That no money changes hands.
    2. That recipient selection is based solely on suitability (tissue matching) and medical need.

    Thanks, Megan. I'd like your LPs and CDs, so I'll pop round with a doctor's note and a box of Kleenex whenever it's convenient.


  • Comment number 32.

    no.

    Much better to have an opt out card system, rthare than an opt in system. Now that would be true test of egalitarianism methinks.

  • Comment number 33.

    Money should never be the incentive for things. It has always been the case in most policies and look where that has got us?

  • Comment number 34.

    If you wait for just voluntary donors, demand will continually outweigh supply. I think cash incentives will be a way out. The cash is going to those who really NEED it. It is a kind of redistribution of wealth. Those who don’t really need the money can still donate free of charge. The most important point here is no one has the right to take any part of my body even when I’m dead without my express say-so, especially when I have said it shouldn’t be touched. This is a health issue. I wouldn’t be asking for money if I didn’t really need.

  • Comment number 35.

    What if the person opted, at a later date, to not donate? Would they have that choice and would they be required to pay back the money that was payed to them?

    We need more information in order to debate this issue.

    It's still too early.

  • Comment number 36.

    My original thought was no, but then I thought why not. If someone wants to sell their body (as a prostitute or in bits after they are dead) who's to tell them they shouldn't? The fact is we have a shortage of donors. We need organs. There are organs going spare. I find the holier than thou attitude of people on this HYS pathetic - they are quite happy to pay with other people lives for their principles!

  • Comment number 37.

    I have opted to be an organ donor and wish my organs to go to a worthwhile cause after i am gone and i encourage others to do the same and hope that my organs are of use to someone other than myself at some point. Its something you can give which doesnt cost a thing so why not..? But I do agree sperm and egg donors have the right to remain anonymous .... There is no need for anyone to know who they are

  • Comment number 38.

    33. At 1:42pm on 20 Apr 2010, This is not you wrote:
    "Money should never be the incentive for things. It has always been the case in most policies and look where that has got us?"

    So we'd only go out to work for social reasons, or only work to be promoted for the good of others. Don't be so naive. Money is a means to betterment of our life. Who would take risks without reward?

  • Comment number 39.

    Government should take the organs of the dead and use them for transplant, there should be no opt in or out. Anyone who disagrees with this should of course be given the option to opt out of the NHS in its entirety (and no they won't get any tax 'discount' if they do that, in the same way that people who send their kids to private school don't get any discount).
    It sounds harsh but it is an easy way to ensure more life is protected and prolonged. The real question I think now is, is it any longer appropriate to increase the life span and size of our population to an ever increasign degree? If it isn't then perhaps we leave transplant law as it is. There are after all far too many people alive today.

  • Comment number 40.

    Until such time as the population is at a more realistic level there should be no organ donation.

  • Comment number 41.

    Payment for organs for transplant is ethical in as much as it saves lives. When we have paid surrogate moms why not this. The rule of supply and demand sticks. Moreover, there will always be benevolent people who may detest the lure of lucre and willing to donate the organs free. And then there are the needy and the greedy. Internet and other mass media like newspaper classifieds and permitted TV channels will flash the adverts alike those scouring job markets. Some god-fearing guys may feel it unethical to spare or sell their organs as they are ultimately not their property. Organ donations may also give a fillip to human-racketeers who may indulge in gore to make a pile. The issue of organ donation is serious and need to be minutely examined and debated for quite sometime by experts - medical and legal - before arriving at a decision.

  • Comment number 42.

    If, each year, such a scheme could save the lives of up 1,000 people in the UK alone, waiting for transplants, then the answer has to be "YES!"
    Let us face the reality that this will happen anyway, so the real question here is are we going to allow religious or ethical groups to effectively dictate whether someone lives or dies in the meantime.
    No contest - so long as it is done with safeguards in place assuring that it is in no way abused.

  • Comment number 43.

    "14. At 12:08pm on 20 Apr 2010, Mr Max wrote:
    Most people who donate organs fall into the medical category of "dead". People who are "dead" are not particularly noted as big spenders.
    ---------------------------------

    Kidneys are the exception. There are plenty of examples around the world where poor people have sold one (and supposedly instances of having one stolen).

  • Comment number 44.

    first of all i would remove 'cash' from the main question...

    should there be an incentive for organ donation?

    at such a horrible time for the family members, to be asked about donation only an hour or less after a death, just makes them feel even worse...

  • Comment number 45.

    In these types of debate, the following points against organ donation often get raised. As someone who has had a transplant, I would like to address the following points made in this debate:

    18 – “Currently I'm not registered and no amount of money would be a sufficient incentive for me to change that: the only thing that would is a world full of better people worth actually saving.”

    By not registering for the reason you gave, you are potentially preventing ‘someone worth actually saving’ from receiving a transplant. The current system is non discriminatory. What gives you the right or expertise to determine an individual’s right to receive a transplant?


    19 – “If the system is changed, I'll opt out, because I deeply resent being told what to do.”

    I find comments along these lines quite unsettling. Are people so driven by their own pride that they would rather 'make a point’ about a certain policy or government than potentially save lives?


    27 – “Giving an organ to artificially 'save' or 'extend' a life is no longer viable for me.”

    Yes, a transplant ‘artificially extends’ life. In this way it is no different than most other medical treatments. If you are against this, are you in favour of withdrawing all forms of other medical care?

  • Comment number 46.

    1/ no cash
    2/ organs to be replaced on the decease with recipitant organ
    (this will encourage those who wants organs for life, but reject organ donation in death for afterlife beliefs etc)
    3/ living donations ie kidneys etc should be placed in doctors surgeries
    hospitals, and work places.
    4/ people on registrar to have consent sent to family so if they pass away suddenly family are not put through extra stress

  • Comment number 47.

    No way! Selling body parts may be the norm in some developing countries, but it has no place in the richer nations.

  • Comment number 48.

    The organs most wanted are from young adults - precisely the demographic most involved in car accidents and charged highest for car insurance. One way to increase donation without setting up doubtful incentives would be to have the car insurance agencies offer reduced insurance rates to drivers who will sign up for organ donation.

    When there's an accident, and organs are donated as a result, a payment could be made to the insurance companies to compensate them for losses on everyone's reduced insurance.

    That way everyone benefits, without anyone in particular being paid directly for organs. It'd also be quite straightforward to set up since the insurance companies already have billing systems.

  • Comment number 49.

    All body's should become the property of the state and organs harvested as a matter of routine. The remains can then be returned to the family.

  • Comment number 50.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 51.

    "All body's should become the property of the state and organs harvested as a matter of routine. The remains can then be returned to the family."

    Wrong. The state exists to protect people's rights; people don't exist to serve the state/collective. Thankfully a gross violation of rights like that is extremely unlikely. If anyone ever attempted it, it would be entirely justifiable to kill them.

  • Comment number 52.

    This is the thin end of the wedge!

    If this come into force, only the rich will be able to afford new organs.

  • Comment number 53.

    "Currently I'm not registered and no amount of money would be a sufficient incentive for me to change that: the only thing that would is a world full of better people worth actually saving."
    - 18. At 12:27pm on 20 Apr 2010, 23 years 9 months and counting

    Well said. Organs might accidentally go to the kind of creeps proposing mandatory organ donation.

    "Government should take the organs of the dead and use them for transplant, there should be no opt in or out. Anyone who disagrees with this should of course be given the option to opt out of the NHS in its entirety (and no they won't get any tax 'discount' if they do that, in the same way that people who send their kids to private school don't get any discount).
    It sounds harsh but it is an easy way to ensure more life is protected and prolonged. The real question I think now is, is it any longer appropriate to increase the life span and size of our population to an ever increasign degree? If it isn't then perhaps we leave transplant law as it is. There are after all far too many people alive today."
    - 39. At 2:23pm on 20 Apr 2010, fila82

    Or how's this for another idea: People who suggest forced organ donation should be euthanised and their own organs immediately used to reduce the numbers on waiting lists.

  • Comment number 54.

    Once you start down this road the next step is "organ-legging" or in layman's terms, "the murder of innocent people to obtain their organs for sale".

    For donations such as blood, semen and eggs, which are not life threatening perhaps cash incentives may work, but for organs which the donor MUST be recently deceased, or shorten their life expectancy considerably to donate, offering cash is totally wrong.

    My biggest concern as a former sperm donor, is that the law was changed so that the Child Support Agency could obtain details of donors to secure "paternity support". That defeats the purpose of anonymous donation and killed voluntary support. Who wants to give their sperm for experimentation only to discover that they must pay child support for a child raised by another couple?

    Though I find it less morally reprehensible than the idea of "implied consent" I still think it is not the best solution.

  • Comment number 55.

    NO! This will simply create a market for murder. People parts will become a commodity, like in China, with tiger parts, and shark parts. We have seen what that leads to.

  • Comment number 56.

    I have no idea why we keep on going to such lengths to create more babies when half of those born are unwanted, there are scores of children needing homes, the world is grossly overpopulated and we have no money for such luxuries anyway. I resent National Health Service resources being used in this way.
    As for organ donation - well, do not want to "help someone live after I die" and am against it in principle because I don't think your heart and soul can be seperated. And no, before you choke, I would not want someone elses bits; I'd rather die.

  • Comment number 57.

    36. At 2:14pm on 20 Apr 2010, Steve Edwards wrote:

    My original thought was no, but then I thought why not. If someone wants to sell their body (as a prostitute or in bits after they are dead) who's to tell them they shouldn't? The fact is we have a shortage of donors. We need organs. There are organs going spare. I find the holier than thou attitude of people on this HYS pathetic - they are quite happy to pay with other people lives for their principles!


    sorry but my objection is based on the possibility this could be exploited. What is to stop a family killing an elderly relative if they think they can make money from the sale of their body parts? In principle voluntary donation of your own organs makes sense, but as the law stands the decision to harvest is made by your next of kin and there is a very small window of opportunity to obtain the organs - a small enough window for signs of murder to be over looked.

  • Comment number 58.

    Absolutely not! "Donation" & "Cash" are not synonymous.

    What next, selling your soul? Dorian Gray anyone?

  • Comment number 59.

    "Yes then we would have a world-wide trade in organs {Legal with regs}

  • Comment number 60.

    14. At 12:08pm on 20 Apr 2010, Mr Max wrote:
    "1. At 10:58am on 20 Apr 2010, David wrote:
    No cash payments are the wrong way to go, as it encourages the desperate to sell their organs"

    How does that work?

    Most people who donate organs fall into the medical category of "dead". People who are "dead" are not particularly noted as big spenders.

    One can live with only one kidney, and they are commonly sold on the black market from third world countries as it is....

  • Comment number 61.

    The anonymity of an egg or sperm donor should be reinstated as a matter of urgency. That will ensure that more people come forward to donate.
    As with many things, its the do-gooders that have infiltrated our society who have done the damage!

  • Comment number 62.

    No cash incentives for human organ donations. Such incentives would encourage the exploitation of those people who would be most susceptible. Also, in some situations it would b likely to encourage homicides of even unsuspecting people by those who would do anything to obtain the payments.

  • Comment number 63.

    This is a dreadful can of worms that should not be opened. I can see the horror stories already: "Desperately poor father in India kills his daughter to sell her organs". We already have human trafficking as both work and sex slaves people sold like cattle in the modern world. Read the book "The Natashas" it details the sex slave industry from the Black Sea to Turkey to Israel and the rest of the world. Last year in the state of New Jersey some twenty Jewish rabbis were arrested by the FBI for illegally trafficking in human organs and money laundering. I fear giving a cash incentive for donating organs will bring in mafias of all sorts throughout the world. There have been previous allegations that China was speeding up executions for the purpose of selling the organs of prisoners on the wrold market. If you make this into a traded commodity with big profits there is no telling what evil will come of it. Human organs do not grow on trees and the origin of many will be supect. During Israel's invasion of Gaza there was world revulsion at the news that the Israelis were deliberately killing young Palestinians to take their organs and throwing back the bodies after being gutted. At least one Israeli doctor openly admitted to this practice. Make all this legal by offering cash prizes for organs and humanity will have decended into a hell of its own making. It's insanity!

  • Comment number 64.

    Well, considering the means some criminal organisations steep to in order to 'buy' organs on the black market, I think the cash idea is not all that bad. This is a simple supply and demand dilemma which allows these criminals to cash in big time. If supply is legally increased, this would kill the black market trade. So yes, if it takes cash, why not?

  • Comment number 65.

    What's next, a game show where the dying are wheeled in and contestants needing transplants compete for the organs? Imagine the flood of donors petitioning to make an appearance: "I've been dying to get on your show...". Maybe a government-run auction, where the dying are sold for the highest bid, would be more acceptable.

  • Comment number 66.

    Organ donation is an unselfish act, and I personally, would only feel that this act would be my wish, if it was for a friend or family member, because with cash incentives for organs it tends to bring out the worst in the human race. We do have a rather large amount of people on this planet, and not many are worthy of continued life if their time is up it is up, c'est la vie.Ok so Im a selfish so and so, I know.

  • Comment number 67.

    3. At 11:04am on 20 Apr 2010, giggleslippers wrote:
    There is no reason to offer any sort of incentive.I don't see why everyone shouldn't automatically be signed up. People are lazy and won't make the effort to sign up for organ donation, once you are dead you have no need for any organs.


    You are of course entitled to your view but no use laying down the law. I am of the opposite view, unwilling to approve of this Frankenstein industry of extending life beyond one's sell-by date. I am neither lazy nor do I approve of the government or one of its agencies assuming the right to take anything from me because I'm dead. Inheritance and death tax are bad enough, now these body mechanics think I should surrender my body for spares as well.

    Remember that every organ extracted from a dead body has been acquired at the expense of someone's life the NHS failed to save.

  • Comment number 68.

    Should there be a cash incentive for organ donation? Is this ethical?
    how can it be unethical for the owner of an organ to make money from it, when doctors and hospitals who receive the organ for free make a profit from it?

  • Comment number 69.

    Offering cash incentives for organ/sperm/egg donation is sick. I have a very strong moral objection to IVF when there are thousands of children already in the world desperate for parents. There is a reason some people can not have children, it's called natural selection to prevent over population. Organs are a different matter, but there should still not be cash incentives for donation, I feel an opt out system would be far better since many people can't be bothered to opt in, I'm sure they wouldn't bother to opt out unless they strongly objected.

  • Comment number 70.

    27. At 1:12pm on 20 Apr 2010, Demon Lee wrote:
    For 30 years I have been a Donor Card carrier, however recent world events and statistics have caused me to tear it up and remove myself from the Register...

    The Planet is overpopulated....
    ....Giving an organ to artificially 'save' or 'extend' a life is no longer viable for me. We are OVER MEDICATING these days and have to accept that loved ones will die, whether it is by accident, disease, old age etc, we have got to deal with the issue of Death and stop being afraid of it.

    There are limited resources on the planet, we need to deal with this issue seriously.

    = = = = = = =

    Recommended!

    If ever mortality were achieved can you imagine what the world would be like after 20 years?! But that's what most people seem to hope for. If we go on keeping people alive beyond their day of reckoning, Nature will eventually have to do the cull Herself.



  • Comment number 71.

    You need an opt out system, rather than an opt-in one. I don't remember the exact numbers, but the difference in donation between countries with the former and countries with the latter is astronomical.

  • Comment number 72.

    Yes, definitely.

    So-called "ethics" are responsible for many thousands of unnecessary deaths. You can't do this, you can't do that etc phylosophy. The State does not own the individual - nor his or her body.

    I suppose ethics might have a use in a particular set of circumstances, but the arguments have to be more than a meaningless intellectual exercise - often based on religious thinking. Then inflated to absurd lengths. What would happen if all individuals chose to intellectualize everything. "Oh no - I cannot throw that drowing person that rope because I do not know its specifications - it might break - best not to risk it!!"

  • Comment number 73.

    Do the people that "OPT OUT" of donating their organs "OPT OUT" or receiving an organ if they became ill? I would gladly donate any of my organs and am happy that if I die there is a chance some one could benefit from my organs. A cash incentive is

  • Comment number 74.

    No, gift of the nature should not be priced. Still we rely on it more profoundly. Pricing an organ will break the trust between me and my beneficiary. I do not know if I could cure some one better than me but we all have to follow what we are gifted with.

    Its only "kindness" that befits this issue not monetary might or wealth.
    Intelligence is culminated, not to be claimed as a right. We help each other when we are being able to help.

    Being a gifted individual, I believe that even cloning is not an equivalency or substitute.

    I can only donate my organ thinking that it helps an individual in the best intention of intelligent creation.

  • Comment number 75.

    Should there be a cash incentive for organ donation? No, certainly not!

  • Comment number 76.

    Cash incentive! This is another way of saying organs may be sold. In other words the whole donor system would become a business. There may be some who would welcome this and there could be reports in the financial sections of the papers - "Livers up 3%" "Kidneys market stagnant". I think it would be awful. I would like to think that there are a few things left in this society - and it will be just a few - which are not governed by money. This should be one of them.

  • Comment number 77.

    You can have my organs for free after I die. It's not as if I'm going to need them is it?

    They might not be that much use to you though, unless you want a kidneys that have spent 10 years sifting through 3 litres of DietCoke a day and a heart that has more cigarette gunk in it than an ash tray and eyes that can't see more than 4 inches ahead.

  • Comment number 78.

    Why does the BBC continue to open this issue up? No, cash for organ donations is a disgusting idea, totally immoral. In any case, it wont be many more years before organ donations will be a thing of the past, since scientists are now making massive headway on in vitro tissue cultures. Soon they'll be able to grow almost anything required and it wont be necessary to harvest dead people anymore. The new organs will be clean and disease-free. Tracheas are just the start.

  • Comment number 79.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 80.

    I can't understand these romantics who think a hung parliament will result in harmonious democracy and utopian open government.

    A hung parliament will result in deals and horse-trading being done in corridors that results in sub-optimal, compromise solutions with no strategic context. The parliamentary "scandals" of recent years will seem like petty matters compared with the parties doing secret deals that, for example, trade off lower tax rates for nuclear weapon reductions. These deals will hold the governing party to ransom and result in slow, complex decision-making that leaves this country struggling to get itself back on its feet.

    The only sensible answer is strong government based around a clear Conservative majority.

  • Comment number 81.

    "we have got to deal with the issue of Death and stop being afraid of it."

    Easier said than done.How many cases have there been to stop Hospitals withdrawing treatment and conversely how many cases where an individual wants to die but has had to go to the courts to seek clarification of their rights and the risks to their famillies?

    Its not something society seems to deal with well.

    On the organ donation question,personally I do not think that cash should be involved and that actually we should stick with the "opt in" concept,but would say that to be considered for an organ yourself you should put yourself on the register as a donor in the event of your death.

    Those who have strong objections to the concept do not have any involvement at all,whilst those who agree with the principle
    can place themselves on the register.

  • Comment number 82.

    There's are too many people on this planet anyway so I can't see the point in organ donation. Besides, most people in this world don't even have access to the same medical care so it is only a case of those that can afford it - either privately or as a state provided system. And no, I don't want anyone else's and my kids are old enough to decide for themselves as to what they want to do.

  • Comment number 83.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 84.

    A preposturous proposition!
    We must be aware (Or am I stupid?) In the underdeveloped countries where 'life' has little value.the under priviliged are encouraged to,and are able to 'sell' their vital organs,in order to survive.
    Need I say more! Are we to sink to this level of 'inhumanity to man' encouraging our own 'underprivileged'to resort to such dreadful proceedures,in order to survive?
    I submit! That is the only question that needs to be attended to.....
    cyclops

  • Comment number 85.

    One idea that is widely discussed in ethical circles - which should find favour with the utilitarian attitudes in this HYS debate - is the idea of an organ lottery card, legally required to be carried by everyone. The lottery number can be on the new identity cards. Each month the numbers of those requiring organs is calculated and a sufficient number of those carrying the compulsory lottery/identity cards are taken away and disorganised so that their organs could be used to save lives. The numbers of those benefitting would greatly exceed those who are called upon to make a sacrifice. There would be no waiting lists for organs and no cheating the system. And the idea of a lottery would be fair and equal as the wealthy would have the same chances of benefitting or donating as the poor. If you find this repugnant then look at the memorials in every town and village which praise those young people who left their organs on the barbed wire in two world wars so that the majority could live in freedom.

    Most ethics students have problems with this proposal, but the fault in the argument is in the assumption that the well being of the majority should always trump the suffering of an innocent minority.

    You people on HYS think of these issues and how to resolve them the next time the BBC brings out its debate on university education and you say - cut out ethics as a discipline.

  • Comment number 86.

    No. not cash payments. Simply change the system to opt out - that way only those who feel strongly will bother to act and the rest of us will donate. One proviso though should be for organs belonging to the under 12's. Though many youngsters are sure that they would prefer to donate in the event of their deaths, I do think parents should be asked beforehand if their child dies.

  • Comment number 87.

    Wouldn't it be easier to ask people if they'd like to receive a donated organ in the event of an accident or illness, those that say yes would then be required to donate their organs when they die.

    Obviously children and those with mental disabilities that prevent them from being able to make such a decision would still be able to receive but everyone else would make their choice when they reached 18, all you'd have to do is send them a letter explaining their options and asking them to register their wishes.

    Have no presumption either way and offer no financial reward, just make it a system where only those willing to give are able to receive.

  • Comment number 88.

    Just another way to exploit the poor. This is what happens when the rich elite rule the world. They devise all kinds of schemes that are unnatural. It's not enough to exploit poor nations of their resources, you must exploit the people too. This is a sick mentality and stems from an ego that believes that ones pecies is truly superior to another.

  • Comment number 89.

    The question has to be asked, why aren't more people willingly signing up to donate organs? Why should there need to be a cash incentive to motivate more people to do so?

    Baring religious reasons I can think of no other good reason not to donate.

  • Comment number 90.

    Please tell me that anyone would be mercenary enough to want payment for agreeing to organ donation.

    Whatever happened to giving something for no particular reason other than to do good?

  • Comment number 91.

    Definately Not.
    How sad that everything comes down to cash.
    An opt out scheme might bring better results, those that have strong objections will opt out those that aren't bothered either way need do nothing.

  • Comment number 92.

    "Whatever happened to giving something for no particular reason other than to do good?"

    There is no profit in it so its a foreign concept these days.

  • Comment number 93.

    There should be no payments of any kind for donations. To pay funeral costs would lead to unpleasant demands by relatives that organs be taken to defray costs and thus increase the value of the estate that might be coming to them. I have some sympathy with those who call for an opt out policy rather than an opt-in one, but, as the furore over the Alder Hey tissue scandal showed, such a policy would lead to emotion-charged clashes between hospitals and distraught relatives. Such events would discredit donation and make the situation worse in the long run.

    No, the only answer which avoids treating human beings as objects of commerce is education and social convention. Just as over decades it has become socially unacceptable to smoke in confined spaces when once such behaviour was completely taken for granted, so, through education and continued exposure of the issue in the media, it will become the social norm to have your organs harvested as appropriate.

  • Comment number 94.

    If the incentive is restricted to buriel costs then I'm all in favour, especially if as an added inducement those buriel costs have to be met by the next of kin if they refuse the organ donation after the death of their relative regardless of the registration wishes already given.

  • Comment number 95.

    No.

  • Comment number 96.

    "There's are too many people on this planet anyway so I can't see the point in organ donation. Besides, most people in this world don't even have access to the same medical care so it is only a case of those that can afford it - either privately or as a state provided system. And no, I don't want anyone else's and my kids are old enough to decide for themselves as to what they want to do"

    Well given that argument should we be using expensive modern western medicine to treat anybody? Seeing as we now have rising population are you suggesting that we follow the "Logans Run" example but with the twist that anybody over a certain age is denied medicines that could extend there life?

  • Comment number 97.

    No.
    People unwilling to donate should ask themselves exactly what will the organs do for them after death?
    Do they think God will be mad at them for giving the gift of life, or sight, or whatever to someone else? Whatever happened to, "As you have done for the least of my brethern, you have also done onto me."
    Do they think that God is not capable of putting their own human body back together?
    Cash incentives will appeal to the poor, and make no difference to the rich – except maybe to pay the poor.
    Each person is unique with unique beliefs that have likely never been challenged, or maybe even thought about; so I guess, slow and painful as it might be, we have to deal with getting permission – one person at a time.
    My Cousin had a heart transplant, and though it ultimately failed, it provided him with days of life and hope – and that was an amazing gift.

  • Comment number 98.

    perhaps to cover funeral expenses to the bereaved family.

  • Comment number 99.

    "88. At 7:17pm on 20 Apr 2010, clamdip lobster claws wrote:
    Just another way to exploit the poor. This is what happens when the rich elite rule the world. They devise all kinds of schemes that are unnatural. It's not enough to exploit poor nations of their resources, you must exploit the people too."

    Oh come off it Lenin. If it saves lives, then it is a good thing.

  • Comment number 100.

    The word "donation" implies that an item is given for free. It can not be considered a donation if you are paid to do so; that is called selling. To suggest paying someone for an organ donation is a travesty at least, and a barbarity at most...bring on the body-snatchers!

 

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