How to boost kidney donations: Survey shows Americans want compensation

The waiting list for a kidney transplant in the U.S. exceeds 100,000 patients, and a survey published in JAMA found compensation could motivate more people to donate their kidney.

The survey was administered in June 2014 and included 1,011 likely U.S. voters. It found that 68 percent would donate a kidney to anyone and 23 percent would donate only to certain people, while 9 percent would not donate a kidney at all.

Further, more than half (59 percent) indicated that a payment of $5,000 would make them more likely to donate a kidney, and just 9 percent were off-put by the suggestion of a payment.

"Because too many U.S. patients are dying owing to the inadequate kidney supply, and because paying living kidney donors could increase the number of kidneys, we conclude that this option must be seriously considered," the study authors wrote. "Amending existing federal law so that pilot studies concerning donor compensation can go forward is a reasonable start, and our findings show that it should be politically feasible."

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