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Jan 10, 2017

How Do State Policies Affect Organ Donation and Transplants?

By Mayo Clinic Transplant Staff, @mayoclinictransplantstaff

If you’re waiting for a transplant or know someone who is, there’s a good chance you already know the current supply of available organs isn’t sufficient. As a result, some states have started to pass policies in an attempt to increase the organ supply. But do they work?

A group of doctors examined six different organ donation policies to figure out their impact. The study, published in the June 2015 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine, reported the number of states implementing at least one donation-related policy went from seven in 1988 to all 50 states by the conclusion of the study in 2010.

The types of policies included:policies blog post transplant

  • First-person consent laws
  • Donor registries
  • Dedicated revenue streams for donor recruitment
  • Population education programs
  • Paid leave for donation
  • Tax incentives for donors

Sadly, the policies made minimal impact on increasing the number of donors or transplants in the United States. Revenue policies, with individuals contributing to a protected state fund, were the only approach associated with an increase in the number of transplants.

Why it matters

A shortage of organs available for transplant remains despite state efforts to implement policies that would increase the number of donors. You can help by spreading the word about the importance of registering as an organ donor. An organ donor can save up to eight lives, and an eye and tissue donor can enhance the lives of more than 50 people.

What do you think about state policies to increase the organ supply? Do you think they should continue being explored?


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