NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


May 7, 2008

Young healthy people should be allowed to sell their kidneys to help reduce the transplant waiting list.  It is a radical idea but some Australian health experts say the situation with organ donation is so desperate it is warranted.


  • More than 40 Australians die from kidney failure every day, and many are waiting for a new organ.
  • One person dies every week because they can not get a kidney transplant.
  • Despite countless public awareness campaigns Australia still has one of the lowest rates of organ donation in the world.

Healthy young people should be allowed to sell one of their kidneys for up to $50,000, believes Canberra doctor Gavin Carney.  Patients need a kidney and the Government will recruit those kidneys in an ethical and proper good fashion, pay and compensate young Australians to donate their kidneys to other Australians, he says.

If one compensated healthy Australians to donate their kidneys then you would have a ready pool of kidneys for kidney patients, you would get the best possible matches, it's a win-win situation for everyone concerned, according to Carney.

The Australian government has released a report with 51 recommendations designed to boost the rate of donation, but selling organs is not one of them.  Putting a price on somebody's organ and making it an economic proposition for people that might be financial vulnerable -- we don't think is the right way to go, says Federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon said. 

Most experts agree that what is needed is better coordination at a hospital level to ensure more transplants take place, say observers.

Source: Sophie Scott, "Kidney Sales Would Boost Flagging Donations," ABC News, May 5, 2006.


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