Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Alberta report urges incentives for organ donors

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A new survey from Alberta researchers is recommending cash incentives for organ donations.

Calgary physician Dr. Braden Mann of the Libin Cardiovascular Institute of Alberta co-authored the study that found paying donors could increase donation rates.

According to Transplant Manitoba, there are about 200 people in the province on dialysis, waiting for kidney transplants.

Dr. Brendan McCarthy of Transplant Manitoba says about 20 per cent of people on wait lists for certain organs are dying waiting for those organs.

Mann's study surveyed more than 2,500 members of the public, health professionals and people waiting for transplants.

He found 70 per cent of them would support paying deceased donors' families for organs.

The number dips to 40 per cent for paying living donors for organs.

Arthur Schafer, an ethicist who works with the Centre for Professional and Applied Ethics, says the idea of paying for organs is troubling.

"Frankly, I think it would be bordering on obscene to offer financial compensation to the mother whose child has just died," said Schafer. "I think there are substantial ethical concerns."

McCarthy isn't in favour of the idea either. Instead, he thinks people could use more encouragement to make an altruistic donation.

"There are people dying on the wait list, and at some point that may be you," said McCarthy.

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 6, 2012 A3

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