Could the organ shortage ever be met?

Levitt, Mairi (2015) Could the organ shortage ever be met? Life Sciences, Society and Policy, 11 (6). pp. 1-6. ISSN 2195-7819

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The organ shortage is commonly presented as having a clear solution, increase the number of organs donated and the problem will be solved. In the light of the Northern Ireland Assembly’s consultation on moving to an opt-out organ donor register this article focusses on the social factors and complexities which impact strongly on both the supply of, and demand for, transplantable organs. Judging by the experience of other countries presumed consent systems may or may not increase donations but have not met demand. Donation rates have risen considerably in all parts of the UK recently but there is also an increasing demand for organs. Looking at international donation rates and attitudes, future demand for organs and education on donation, the question is whether the organ shortage could ever be met. The increase in longevity, in rates of diabetes and obesity and in alcohol related liver disease all contribute both to increased demand for transplants, and re-transplants, and a reduction in the number of usable organs. It is unlikely that demand could ever be met, since, if supply was unlimited, the focus would move to financial resources and competing demands on the health care budget in a publicly funded health system. These factors point to the need to focus on ways of reducing, or at least stabilizing, demand where lifestyle factors contribute to the underlying disease.

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Journal Article
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Life Sciences, Society and Policy
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28 Jul 2015 14:04
Last Modified:
28 May 2023 02:47