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Posted: January 14th, 2022

Increasing Organ Donation Rates

Increasing Organ Donation Rates

Organ donation is a life-saving procedure that can benefit many people who suffer from organ failure or disease. However, the demand for organs often exceeds the supply, resulting in long waiting lists and preventable deaths. Therefore, it is important to explore ways to increase organ donation rates and improve the efficiency and equity of organ allocation.

One possible way to increase organ donation rates is to implement an opt-out system, where everyone is presumed to be a donor unless they explicitly refuse. This system has been adopted by several countries, such as Spain, Belgium, and Wales, and has shown positive results in increasing the number of donors and organs available (Matesanz et al., 2017; Rithalia et al., 2009; Shepherd et al., 2014). An opt-out system can reduce the barriers and inertia that prevent people from registering as donors, as well as increase the social norm and expectation of donation (Johnson and Goldstein, 2003; Thaler and Sunstein, 2008).

Another possible way to increase organ donation rates is to provide incentives or rewards for donors or their families. These incentives can be either financial or non-financial, such as tax deductions, funeral expenses, priority in receiving organs, or recognition and appreciation. Some countries, such as Iran, Singapore, and Israel, have implemented various forms of incentives and have reported increased donation rates (Ghods and Savaj, 2006; Lavee et al., 2013; Lim et al., 2010). However, incentives can also raise ethical and practical concerns, such as commodification of human body parts, exploitation of the poor, crowding out of altruism, and potential fraud or coercion (Delmonico et al., 2015; Hippen et al., 2009).

A third possible way to increase organ donation rates is to improve public education and awareness about the benefits and risks of donation, as well as the procedures and criteria for organ allocation. Many people may have misconceptions or fears about donation, such as losing bodily integrity, violating religious beliefs, receiving inadequate medical care, or being unfairly treated in the allocation process (Hyde and White, 2009; Morgan et al., 2008; Rodrigue et al., 2014). Therefore, providing accurate and accessible information and addressing common concerns can enhance public trust and confidence in the organ donation system and encourage more people to register as donors or consent to donation (Feeley and Moon, 2009; Siminoff et al., 2007).

In conclusion, increasing organ donation rates is a complex and multifaceted challenge that requires a combination of strategies and interventions. Some of the possible ways to achieve this goal are implementing an opt-out system, providing incentives for donors or their families, and improving public education and awareness. These methods have different advantages and disadvantages that need to be carefully evaluated and balanced. Ultimately, the aim is to create a fair and efficient organ donation system that can save more lives and improve the quality of life for many people.

References:

Delmonico FL, Martin D, Domínguez-Gil B et al. (2015) Living and deceased organ donation should be financially neutral acts. American Journal of Transplantation 15(5):1187-1191.

Feeley TH and Moon SI (2009) A meta-analytic review of communication interventions to increase organ donation registration rates. Health Communication 24(1):23-33.

Ghods AJ and Savaj S (2006) Iranian model of paid and regulated living-unrelated kidney donation. Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology 1(6):1136-1145.

Hippen BE, Ross LF and Sade RM (2009) Saving lives is more important than abstract moral concerns: financial incentives should be used to increase organ donation. Annals of Thoracic Surgery 88(4):1053-1061.

Hyde MK and White KM (2009) To be a donor or not to be? Applying an extended theory of planned behavior to predict posthumous organ donation intentions. Journal of Applied Social Psychology 39(4):880-900.

Johnson EJ and Goldstein DG (2003) Do defaults save lives? Science 302(5649):1338-1339.

Lavee J, Ashkenazi T, Gurman G et al. (2013) A new law for allocation of donor organs in Israel. The Lancet 375(9720):1131-1133.

Lim WH, McDonald SP, Russ GR et al. (2010) Effect of reimbursement incentives on deceased organ donor rates: international comparison across 13 countries. Transplantation Proceedings 42(10):4050-4053.

Matesanz R, Domínguez-Gil B, Coll E et al. (2017) How Spain reached 40 deceased organ donors per million population. American Journal of Transplantation 17(6):1447-1454.

Morgan SE, Harrison TR, Long SD et al. (2008) Family discussions about organ donation: how the media influences opinions about donation decisions. Clinical Transplantation 22(3): 318-326.

Rithalia A, McDaid C, Suekarran S et al. (2009) A systematic review of presumed consent systems for deceased organ donation. Health Technology Assessment 13(26):1-95.

Rodrigue JR, Cornell DL and Howard RJ (2014) Organ donation decision: comparison of donor and nondonor families. American Journal of Transplantation 6(1):190-198.

Shepherd L, O’Carroll RE and Ferguson E (2014) An international comparison of deceased and living organ donation/transplant rates in opt-in and opt-out systems: a panel study. BMC Medicine 12:131.

Siminoff LA, Gordon N, Hewlett J et al. (2007) Factors influencing families’ consent for donation of solid organs for transplantation. JAMA 286(1):71-77.

Thaler RH and Sunstein CR (2008) Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

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