Incentive Models to Increase Living Kidney Donation: Encouraging Without Coercing


*Corresponding author: Ajay K. Israni,


Kidney transplantation is a superior treatment strategy than chronic dialysis for end-stage renal disease patients. However, there is a severe shortage of cadaveric kidneys that are available for transplantation. Therefore many patients are turning to living donors. We describe four models of incentives to improve rates of living kidney donation: the market compensation model, the fixed compensation model, no-compensation model and the expense reimbursement model. We discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each of these models. Any incentive to improve rates of living kidney donation must be accompanied by safeguards. These safeguards will prevent living donors from being viewed primarily as a resource for transplants. These safeguards will also prevent vulnerable individuals from being coerced into donation and will monitor long-term outcomes of donors using a donor registry. We recommend the use of the expense reimbursement model along with these safeguards, in order to increase rates of living kidney donation.