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Paying Off Student Loans By Donating Kidneys

by Jim ONeil on August 5, 2011

in student finance

Some heated discussion has resulted from a recent BMJ.com commentary penned by Dr. Sue Rabbitt Roff, a Dundee University medical sociology research fellow. Dr. Rabbitt Roff believes the time has come to pilot a program in the UK regarding compensation for kidney donation.

She stated that market regulation and payment for donating kidneys would increase donation levels and incent those who need cash for things like repaying university loans.

Each day, three people die waiting to receive kidney transplants. Under current systems, subjects of medical research are compensated, as are workers who lose their organs. Dr. Rabbitt Roff stated that her proposal is not a far leap from this.

It would also prevent a black market from developing in the UK.

The donation fee should not be “exploitative,” said Dr. Rabbitt Roff. She suggested making it about £28,000, the UK average annual income. This should be enough to incent individuals at various income levels, she believes.

It would allow them to receive enough money for their kind deed to do things like pay off loans debt from university attendance. At the same time, the poor would not be exploited.

Leading kidney charities are not standing behind Dr. Rabbitt Roff. Kidney Research UK Chairman Professor Neil Turner commented that becoming a living organ donor is a personal decision in which financial gain should not play a role.

A pay-for-donation system would be ripe for abuse and other alternatives have not yet been fully explored, he stated.

Using money as a motivator could increase the number of donors who later regret their decision, according to Mr. Turner. His organization prefers an opt-out organ donor registry system. National Kidney Foundation Chief Executive Tim Statham believes that altruistic prospective donors may take offense that someone would perceive them as being money-motivated and would choose not to donate.

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