By Kaitlyn Schaeffer

A recent article in The New York Times has alerted the public to the enormous gap between supply and demand for organs worldwide. Reporter Kevin Sack revealed that not only are thousands of people participating in the global organ black market, they are also paying exorbitant sums to get their hands on much-need organs for loved ones.

Absent any national policy that might increase post-mortem organ donation or a marked increase in live altruistic donation, the gap between supply and demand will continue to persist.

In light of these facts, The Denver Post posed to its readers the possibility of an incentive system for organ donation. Under such a system, kidney donors would be rewarded for their organs with benefits such as tax credits, college scholarships, and job training. Such incentives, they argue, would not only benefit patients in need, but also the community at large: patients awaiting kidney transplants often spend years receiving dialysis treatments that are paid for by the public. A greater organ supply would put a huge dent in this sum, freeing up funds for other purposes (such as the aforementioned benefits) or, at the very least, would put cash back in the pockets of American citizens.

Of course, such a system threatens to disproportionately benefit the wealthy at the expense of less fortunate individuals. Great caution would have to be taken to ensure that an incentive structure would be fair and non-exploitative. The article argues that a properly regulated system with controlled incentives would provide a much needed bump in organ supply, promote general welfare, and generate data on those who are likely to participate.

Read the full article here.