Equal Opportunity Supplemented by Fair Innings: Equity and Efficiency in Allocating Deceased Donor Kidneys


Lainie Friedman Ross, lross@uchicago.edu


For 7 years, the Kidney Transplantation Committee of the United Network for Organ Sharing/Organ Procurement Transplantation Network has attempted to revise the kidney allocation algorithm for adults (≥18 years) in end-stage renal disease awaiting deceased donor kidney transplants. Changes to the kidney allocation system must conform to the 1984 National Organ Transplant Act (NOTA) which clearly states that allocation must take into account both efficiency (graft and person survival) and equity (fair distribution). In this article, we evaluate three allocation models: the current system, age-matching and a two-step model that we call “Equal Opportunity Supplemented by Fair Innings (EOFI)”. We discuss the different conceptions of efficiency and equity employed by each model and evaluate whether EOFI could actually achieve the NOTA criteria of balancing equity and efficiency given current conditions of growing scarcity and donor-candidate age mismatch.