Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Podcast Episode 29: Kidney Donation Market

Kidney Donation Market

Is it ethical to allow people to sell their kidneys?

Potential issues

Poor people could be manipulated into selling their kidneys because they feel they need the money or even as collateral for a loan.

Is this a bad thing? I’m not sure... probably

The purpose of a market is to  allow supply and demand to work out the optimal distribution of a scarce resource

Money is a great way to run a market because it is fungible, easily transferable and allows people to make good decisions.

But a market doesn’t have to be monetary.

Other solutions:

Kidney paired exchange programs

If you want to donate to a friend or family member but you are incompatible, you can donate to someone else in the same situation and you can swap the kidneys.

Preferred status for organ donors

People who have signified their intent to be organ donors if they die are given a preference if they ever need an organ transplant.

My idea:

Why haven’t I donated a kidney? Partially because I want to save it in case someone I care about needs it. But what if no one I care about ever needs it? What if I could donate now and then receive a voucher that I could give to anyone in the future that gets them first on the list for a new kidney?

This would allow me to donate now, helping someone who needs it, and then in the future if a friend or family member needs a kidney, I can give them my voucher which would be equivalent to giving them my kidney.

In fact, you could probably do this for all organs, but instead of you getting a voucher when you die, you could specify in your will who gets the vouchers for any organs they are able to use when you die.

This would incentivise people to donate organs now, when they are needed but still be able to get some benefit from them in the future.

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