Financial compensation for organ donors

Jack W. Harbell, Amit K. Mathur

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Purpose of reviewWith an increasing demand for donor organs, strategies to increase the number of available donor organs have become more focused. Compensating donors for donation is one strategy proposed to increase the availability of organs for transplant. This has been implemented in several systems internationally, but debate continues in the United States with respect to appropriate strategies. The National Organ Transplant Act (NOTA) currently prohibits the transfer of any human organ 'for valuable consideration' for transplantation, but allows for the removal of financial disincentives.Recent findingsSeveral proposals currently exist for compensating patients for living donation. Recent data have focused on studying and creating mechanisms for reimbursement of costs incurred as part of the donation process, which is related to the removal of disincentives to living donation. Others have advocated for the provision of actual incentives to patients for the act of donating, in an attempt to further expand living donation. The current debate focuses on what measures can reasonably be taken to increase donation, and whether additional incentives will encourage more donation or reduce the motivation for altruistic donation.SummaryCurrently, the transplant community broadly supports the removal of disincentives for living donors, including reimbursement of expenses for travel, housing and lost wages incurred during evaluation, surgery and after care. Others have advocated for financial incentives to further increase the number of donor organs available for transplant. Although the removal of disincentives is currently allowed under the existing legal structure of NOTA, providing financial incentives for living donation would require further evaluation of the economics, law, ethics and public readiness for a significant policy shift.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)182-187
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent opinion in organ transplantation
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2019


  • compensation
  • deceased donor
  • kidney transplant
  • living donor
  • transplant ethics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Transplantation


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