NKF’s Position on Payment for Organs

In a recent New York Times Opinionator piece, “Fixes: It’s Time to Compensate Kidney Donors” (August 7), the author encourages compensation and incentives for kidney donors. The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) firmly believes that paying for organs isn’t the answer since there are effective, proven methods to increase donation that are currently underutilized.

NKF supports increasing the availability of organs and believes kidney transplantation is the most cost effective treatment in the long term. Accordingly, NKF has worked with Congress consistently for many years to address extending Medicare immunosuppressant transplant medications to cover the life of the transplant.

NKF has consistently advocated for removing financial disincentives and barriers to living donation. These include: expanding paired exchange and donor chains; protecting job security for those who take time off to donate; covering all donation-related expenses, including travel, lost wages and childcare costs; and ensuring the availability of health, disability and life insurance for all living donors.

Paying kidney donors can introduce health risks for the recipient if donors withhold important medical information in order to receive payment. Additionally, international experience has shown that a payment system for kidneys often exploits poverty stricken sellers who can be manipulated or coerced into selling their kidneys for quick money or to repay debts. We are also concerned that paying donors could adversely impact altruistic living donation.

The article references NKF as part of a larger consortium that will be meeting with the federal Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) in September to discuss financial compensation for donors. To clarify, the purpose of this meeting is to discuss increasing living donation through education and removing disincentives to organ donation, not to promote payment for kidney donations.

With regards to the Iran waiting list mentioned in the piece, it’s important to note that it hasn’t been proven that the list has actually been eliminated. An article in BMJ investigated claims about the impact of the payment system for kidneys and cites both potential benefits and serious harms.

NKF’s position on payment for organs is consistent with that of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Institute of Medicine (IOM).

About nkf _advocacy

The National Kidney Foundation's advocacy movement is for all people affected by CKD, transplant candidates and recipients, living and potential donors, donor families and caregivers. We empower, educate and encourage you to get involved on issues relating to CKD, donation and transplantation.
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6 Responses to NKF’s Position on Payment for Organs

  1. I know people have different perspectives on paying for kidneys, but one thing I wasn’t clear about from this post was: “Does the National Kidney Foundation support the goal of increasing living kidney donation?” I hope we can all agree that the federal government and the transplant community should be making policy to help increase access to living donation! So please confirm the National Kidney Foundation supports the goal of increased living kidney donation.

    • Thanks for your message. The NKF is committed to increasing living kidney donation. In addition to our ongoing advocacy efforts to remove barriers that might prevent living donation (job security, expenses and insurance coverage), we are preparing to launch a new awareness campaign called The Big Ask, The Big Give to educate the public about the importance of living donation and transplantation.

      • Robyn Lowe says:

        My husband and I would love to be involved with this new campaign The Big Ask, The Big Give. please send email with more information. My husband is battling ESRD and we are in process of kidney transplant and want to help educate because more education is needed out there. comeunity.la@gmail.com Thank You.

  2. Pingback: NKF’s Position on Payment for Organs | kidneystoriesblog

  3. Pandra Seibold says:

    Hi I’m 47 with esrd and need a transplant but the transplant center in Oklahoma says I must loose 50 to 65 lbs. I have trouble keeping my fluid in check any suggestions?

    • Ricardo Sandoval says:

      Can you explain more about keeping your fluids in check?? How much liquid are you drinking a day??? You really have to watch the natural fluids in the solid foods you eat as well.

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