Risk, Regulation, and Financial Incentives for Living Kidney Donation

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2014; 14(10): 46-48

Dominique Martin and Sarah White

In his comprehensive review of the hazards of existing, largely unregulated markets in human kidneys, Koplin (2014) argues that advocates of regulated markets may underestimate the potential physical, psychosocial and financial harms risked by vendors. He acknowledges, however, that market proponents will likely be undeterred in calling for “trials” or “pilot studies” of financial incentives in developed countries on the grounds that the experience of international black markets is of limited predictive value in anticipating the outcomes of regulated markets. We contend that there is good evidence to support the concern that living vendors would be at higher risk of adverse health outcomes compared to altruistic donors in the context of a regulated market. This has important implications not only for the informed consent of prospective vendors, but also for the potential regulations that would be required to mitigate these risks. We argue here that pilot studies would be at the very least premature until such time as market proponents have sufficiently engaged with
potential harms to prospective kidney vendors.

Read the full commentary here at The American Journal of Bioethics (subscription required).

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