Why people don't donate their kidneys

To make a real impact on kidney shortage, we have to find ways to persuade more healthy young and middle-aged people to give a kidney to a stranger.

Here is a plan to do just that. Donors would not get a lump sum of cash; instead, a governmental entity, or a designated charity, would offer them in-kind rewards, like a contribution to the donor’s retirement fund, an income tax credit or a tuition voucher.

Meanwhile, imposing a waiting period of at least six months would ensure that donors didn’t act impulsively and that they were giving fully informed consent. Prospective compensated donors would be carefully screened for physical and emotional health, as is done for all donors now.

These arrangements would screen out financially desperate individuals who might otherwise rush to donate for a large sum of instant cash and later regret it.