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Researchers: Payment For Kidney Donations Could Result In More Donors, Shorter Wait For Patients

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File photo of doctors performing a kidney transplant. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

File photo of doctors performing a kidney transplant. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

CALGARY, Canada (CBS Seattle) - The findings of a recent study suggest that paying kidney donors $10,000 could increase the amount of willing participants in the program, resulting in a shorter wait for those in need of a new kidney.

According to Everyday Health, participation in organ donation could increase by at least 5 percent, if not more, resulting in possibly thousands more getting a kidney.

“Such a program could be cost saving because of the extra number of kidney transplants and, consequently, lower dialysis costs,” Lianne Barnieh, a post-doctoral fellow at University of Calgary and the study’s author, was quoted as saying in a statement. “Further, by increasing the number of people receiving a kidney transplant, this program could improve net health by increasing the quality and quantity of life for patients with end-stage renal disease.”

Those involved with the study also learned that approximately $340 per patient receiving a kidney could be saved, leading them to believe that such a model would be cost-effective, as well as beneficial from a public health perspective.

Researchers began to investigate the issue in light of the perceived failure of other initiatives.

“Numerous attempts have been made to increase the pool of potential donors and have included the introduction of deceased donor registries, national and local awareness campaigns, educational efforts, and paired exchange programs, among others,” the team noted in the study. “However, transplantation rates have not increased over the last decade and the deceased donor waiting list continues to grow, particularly in the United States.”

At present, almost 100,000 patients throughout America are in need of a kidney, Everyday Health learned.

However, selling kidneys is presently a felony in the United States. Additionally, though the benefits are easy for some to see, others in the field – such as Stuart Flechner, a kidney transplant surgeon with the Glickman Urological and Kidney Institute at Cleveland Clinic – feel the practice could have negative consequences in the long run.

“I think we should, as a society, support donors so they don’t feel like they’re being financially burdened,” he told Everyday Health. “Many suffer from life disruptions, such as of job security, short-term disability, childcare and more.”

He added, “Cash payments, however, would become a problem.”

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