HealthDay News — If offered $50,000, nearly 3 out of 5 Americans would donate a kidney, according to survey results published online March 23 in JAMA Surgery.

The researchers found that of the 1,011 registered voters surveyed, 68% would donate a kidney to anyone, 23% would donate only to certain persons, and 9% would not donate at all. While 59% said that $50,000 would make them more likely to donate a kidney, 32% were unmoved by compensation. And 9% said they would be less likely to donate if they were paid. Younger people supported payment more than older adults.

“It appears that American society is ready to accept the concept of paying kidney donors,” lead researcher Thomas Peters, MD, an emeritus professor of surgery at the University of Florida College of Medicine in Jacksonville, told HealthDay.

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The study authors chose $50,000 because prior studies had shown that that was an ethically acceptable amount of money that wouldn’t coerce people into donating an organ. Also, it’s a little less than the cost of keeping a patient on kidney dialysis for one year, Peters said. People are already paid for other medical donations, he said, mentioning surrogate mothers, egg and sperm donors, and, in some cases, blood donors.


  1. Peters TG, Fisher JS, Gish RG, et al. Views of US Voters on Compensating Living Kidney Donors. JAMA Surg. 2016; doi: 10.1001/jamasurg.2016.0065.
  2. Del Chiaro M, Rangelova E, Maeurer M. The Ethical Dilemma of Compensating Living Kidney Donors. Alignment Between Science, Legislation, and Ethical Perception in Society? JAMA Surg. 2016; doi: 10.1001/jamasurg.2016.0092