A Canadian study probing the modern feasibility of a relatively old idea (we've discussed it previously at length here) has come to a somewhat unexpected conclusion: most people really don't have a problem with paying for human organs. Dr. Braden Manns of the Libin Cardiovascular Institute of Alberta and Institute for Public Health sent a questionnaire around to more than 2.500 public health workers and people affected with kidney disease. The results: people seem to think it’s okay to pay for body parts.
The results of the study found that 70 percent of those surveyed think financial incentives are acceptable in cases where the donor is deceased. That number drops to 40 percent for a living donor (still a pretty high number, considering). Further studies are being done--and we’re not quite clear on the methodology here--to determine if financial incentives might actually translate into more available organs for those in need of a transplant.
Paying for organs is, naturally, a controversial idea. In fact, it’s highly illegal in most countries. And Manns’ proposal certainly has its critics, who say such schemes encourage donation for the wrong reasons and over time will erode the quality of those organs that do get donated (never mind the fact that including those suffering from kidney disease in the survey might bias the results somewhat). Then again, 285 Canadians (and roughly 6,700 Americans) died while awaiting a donor organ last year. So there’s that to consider. Feel free to leave your thoughts on this in the comments below.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.