The consequences of a donor kidney market
Should you be paid to part with a kidney? It's an unseemly question, but it's one that medical professionals have been grappling with as the waiting list for kidneys gets longer, supply of the organs stagnates and other solutions fall short. In 1999, just over 40,000 Americans were on the waiting list for a kidney, according to the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients, a record that's overseen by the government. By 2009, the list had grown to nearly 83,000 people, the National Kidney Foundation says. That same year, just 16,500 people received a transplant. To help increase supply of the organs, some transplant professionals have suggested establishing a market for kidneys so that donors could receive cash or other incentives—such as health or life insurance— in exchange for their healthy organ. (Donors can live a healthy life with only a single kidney.)
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