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Could the organ shortage ever be met?

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

Published
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>23/07/2015
<mark>Journal</mark>Life Sciences, Society and Policy
Issue number6
Volume11
Number of pages6
Pages (from-to)1-6
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

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.

Bibliographic note

(evidence on PDF publisher final version above) The final publication is available at Springer via http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s40504-015-0023-1