Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Solving the Organ Shortage


There are currently over 120,000 people awaiting organ transplants in the United States.  Living organ donation may be the best way to chip away at this number.

The most common procedures among living donors are kidney and liver donations, which offer better outcomes for the recipients than donations from a deceased donor.  Living donors must undergo an intense screening process before giving up an organ.  They must also be relatively young.  The cutoff age for kidneys is typically 60 while the cutoff age for livers is typically 55.

After surgery, living donors’ remaining organs tend to recover quickly.  About a month after taking out half of the liver, it will regenerate into around 80 percent of its original size.  After a kidney is taken out, the remaining kidney will increase about 20 percent in size.

See the National Living Organ Donors Foundation for more information on living organ donation.

See Amanda Woerner, Living Organ Donation: A Solution to the Organ Shortage in the US?, Fox News, Feb. 24, 2014.


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The solution is in policy

1) congress require all hospitals participating in organ transplantation and accepting any federal funds to adopt two policies

2) the policies

A) no organ goes to any adult who is not a registered organ donor unless all registered organ donor adults are incompatible such that the donated organ could not benefit them;

B) no organ to a child whose parents have not agreed to donate that child's organs unless all children who could accept the organ and whose parents have listed them as donors should they die cannot accept the organs.

Problem solved within five years, maybe less. Parents will begin registering their children as donors at birth, and people will maintain that status throughout heir lives as they will hope to benefit from organ donations themselves.

Posted by: John Gear | Feb 27, 2014 9:37:36 PM

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