For love or money? Attitudes toward financial incentives among actual living kidney donors
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Due to lengthening waiting lists for kidney transplantation, a debate has emerged as to whether financial incentives should be used to stimulate living kidney donation. In recent surveys among the general public approximately 25% was in favor of financial incentives while the majority was opposed or undecided. In the present study, we investigated the opinion of living kidney donors regarding financial incentives for living kidney donation. We asked 250 living kidney donors whether they, in retrospect, would have wanted a financial reward for their donation. We also investigated whether they were in favor of using financial incentives in a government-controlled system to stimulate living anonymous donation. Additionally, the type of incentive deemed most appropriate was also investigated. In general almost half (46%) of the study population were positive toward introducing financial incentives for living donors. The majority (78%) was not in favor of any kind of reward for themselves as they had donated out of love for the recipient or out of altruistic principles. Remarkably, 60% of the donors were in favor of a financial incentive for individuals donating anonymously. A reduced premium or free health insurance was the preferred incentive. © 2010 The American Society of Transplantation and the American Society of Transplant Surgeons.