In a personal view article published on bmj.com today, Sue Rabbitt Roff from Dundee University explains,
"It is time to explore how to pay for live kidneys in the UK under strict rules that guarantee access to equity."
Roff is supporting an organization where the values of pre and post-operative care would be equivalent to what they currently are for kidney donors in the UK, standard payment would also be equivalent to the average UK annual income of around £28,000.
"This would be an incentive across most income levels for those who wanted to do a kind deed and make enough money to, for instance, pay off university loans,"
Three people on the kidney transplant list die in the UK each day, while thousands more are attending dialysis units, Roff says there needs to be a public debate on "regulated paid provision" for live kidneys.
Explaining that a controlled system would not be similar to the illegal market that currently exists in many countries where poor people are exploited.
With high blood pressure and the number of people with diabetes on the increase, demands for kidney transplantation is set to rise, says Roff, adding
"however the level of donation of both deceased and living kidneys has never kept pace with the need, and is plateaued at around 2000 a year in the UK".
Roff's final note states that
"we need to extend our thinking beyond opt in and opt out to looking at how we can make it possible for those who wish to do so can express their autonomy in the same way as current donors are encouraged to do by making available a healthy kidney for a fee that is not exploitative."
Written by Grace Rattue