Radical actions to address UK organ shortage, enacting Iran’s paid donation programme: A discussion paper
AbstractGlobally there is a shortage of organs available for transplant resulting in thousands of lives lost as a result. Last year in the United Kingdom (UK) 457 people died as a result of organ shortage1. NHS Blood and Transplant suggest national debates to test public attitudes to radical actions to increase organ donation should be considered in addressing organ shortage. The selling of organs for transplant in the UK is prohibited under the Human Tissue Act 2004. This discussion paper considers five ethical objections raised in the UK to paid donation, and discusses how these objections are managed within the only legal and regulated paid living unrelated renal donation programme in the world in Iran, where its kidney transplant list was eliminated within two years of its commencement. This paper discusses whether paid living unrelated donation in Iran increases riskier donations, and reduced altruistic donation as opponents of paid donation claim. The paper debates whether objections to paid donation based upon commodification arguments only oppose enabling financial ends, even if these ends enable beneficent acts. Discussions in relation to whether valid consent can be given by the donor will take place, and will also debate the objection that donors will be coerced and exploited by a paid model. This paper suggests that exploitation of the paid donor within the Iranian model exists within the legally permitted framework. However paid living kidney donation should be discussed further and other models of paid donation considered in the UK as a radical means of increasing donation.
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