Incentivized Altruism

Only one in ten Israeli adults is an organ donor and the country is addressing the situation with an innovative new policy. Organ donors and their close relatives will now receive priority if they require a transplant. Jacob Lavee of the Sheba Medical Center said the new policy “provides an incentive for individuals to agree to help each other.” The policy will be widely publicized and will take effect in January 2011. (HT: Marginal Revolution) [%comments]

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  1. hmmm... says:

    Is it still altruism if it’s incentivized?

    Also, yes to this! And donor status should be counted from the registration period before your condition was diagnosed – keep people from last minute changes to game the system.

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  2. Chris Colenso-Dunne says:

    I’m not a registered organ donor because I don’t want my organs to be donated to whoever most needs them.

    Rather, I want my organs to be donated to those who most deserve them.

    Who decides the deserving? In the case of my organs, I do.

    So, I don’t want my organs going to smokers, to alcoholics or other drug addicts, to those with a criminal record, to anyone who belongs to a religious group or is a republican.

    Finally, if one of my own should fail, I am not interested in receiving an organ – whether from one of my banned groups or from anyone else.

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  3. Miles Jacob says:

    I choose NOT to be a donor precisely because I do not agree with the system of prioritization of whose lives are more worth saving, and adding more moral criteria to that system only makes it less likely I would want to become a donor.

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  4. Tom Landgraf says:

    I support this policy because it requires people to make a decision about organ donation. The default scenario – relying on a pool of altruistic donors (and their survivors who often override the deceased’s organ donation wishes) – has give us the current situation where demand far exceeds supply.

    The best way to ration a limited supply of organs is to prioritize willing donors and their immediate families at the top of the list.

    I suggest an addition to this policy: people who abuse their bodies with illegal drugs, alcohol, tobacco, etc should not be allowed to donate their organs.

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  5. Straydingo says:

    what a brilliant idea

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  6. Shai says:

    As an Israeli with an eye on the Ogran donation debate, something even more interesting came to mind. Today, it was published that a new application will allow users to sign-up for the donor community using their iPhone. Here’s a link to the *Hebrew* atricle….,7340,L-3824415,00.html

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  7. Dave Undis says:

    In the United States, registered organ donors can get preferred access to donated organs by joining an organ donor network named LifeSharers.

    If you agree to offer your organs first to other LifeSharers members, you’ll get preferred access to the organs of every other member of the network. As the LifeSharers network expands, your chances of getting an organ if you ever need one keep going up — if you are a member. LifeSharers already has over 13,000 members.

    Giving organs first to organ donors creates an incentive for non-donors to become donors. This increases the supply of organs and saves more lives. Saving the maximum number of lives should be the primary goal of our organ donation/transplantation system.

    Giving organs first to organ donors also makes the system fairer. People who aren’t willing to donate their own organs should go to the back of the transplant waiting list as long as there is an organ shortage.

    If you want to donate your organs to other organ donors, you can join LifeSharers at or by calling 1-888-ORGAN88. Membership is free. There is no age limit. No one is excluded due to any pre-existing medical condition.

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  8. Gordon says:

    Something needs to be done to improve donor levels – but it is a mine field.

    Can’t pay for human parts – morally wrong
    Can’t use an opt-out stand point (my personal favourite) – what about the civil rights?

    This is a good middle ground for upping the incentive, I fully support this as too many people have the attitude that they want the security of receiving blood/organs if they need them but are put off donating for what ever reason.

    I’m almost with Zach on this one – you’ve got to pay to play

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