ORGAN DONATION: Interest in Living Donations Up
More Americans are expressing interest in giving live organ donations, according to a National Kidney Foundation survey released yesterday. Of the 1,000 adults surveyed, 90% said they would consider donating a kidney or part of another organ to a family member. Fifty percent said they would consider doing the same for a friend, while 25% said they would consider such a donation for a stranger. The trend is manifesting itself in a rise in living donations. The Baltimore Sun reports that there were 4,627 living donors last year -- a 7% increase from 1998. While most of those donors gave a kidney, the number of living liver donations tripled.
Brother, Can you Spare a Kidney?
Most interestingly, the increase in live donations from donors to friends or strangers tripled between 1989-1998. "It first started with just brothers and sisters, and then parents and children, and then it started branching out to spouses," National Kidney Foundation spokesperson Ellie Schlam said. Living donations could help to solve part of the nation's acute organ shortage problem, but researchers warned that the interest might not immediately translate into increased donations. While many respondents say they would like to donate their organs, only half of families asked to donate their loved one's organs actually agree. "People don't want to appear negative in the eyes of the person asking the question," David Fleming, executive director of the Coalition on Donation, said. The kidney foundation's survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 3% points (6/23).