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Should You Get a Free Funeral for Donating Your Organs?


"...offering to pay funeral expenses would encourage more people to sign up."

According to the Nuffield Council on Bioethics in the United Kingdom, bodily material such as organs, eggs and sperm are in high demand but short supply. To stimulate organ donation, one of the suggestions from the council is to offer free funerals to those who donate organs upon their death.

New Scientist has more:

Almost 8,000 people are waiting for a transplant in the UK. Although 18 million people are signed up to the British organ donor register, three people every day die waiting for a donor.

The council hopes that offering to pay funeral expenses would encourage more people to sign up. If introduced, it would be the first such scheme in the world. Keith Rigg, a consultant transplant surgeon and co-author of the report, says a pilot study should be introduced.

The average British funeral costs nearly £7000, but a funeral-for-transplant scheme would quickly pay for itself. Kidney transplants alone save the taxpayer around £13000 a year per patient, as they remove the need for costly dialysis. Rigg says that reduced treatment after organ transplantation saved the British National Health Service more than £50 million in 2008.

The researchers on the council present some of their finding in this video, where they say the believe the British government has a significant roll to play in making organ donation as easy as possible. They maintain that "altruism" should be at the core of organ donation but they believe under certain circumstances it is still acceptable to "introducing certain forms of recompense or reward:"

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