Reimbursing live organ donors for incurred non-medical expenses: a global perspective on policies and programs

Am J Transplant. 2009 Dec;9(12):2825-36. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-6143.2009.02829.x. Epub 2009 Sep 25.


Methods to reimburse living organ donors for the non-medical expenses they incur have been implemented in some jurisdictions and are being considered in others. A global understanding of existing legislation and programs would help decision makers implement and optimize policies and programs. We searched for and collected data from countries that practice living organ donation. We examined legislation and programs that facilitate reimbursement, focusing on policy mechanisms, eligibility criteria, program duration and types of expenses reimbursed. Of 40 countries, reimbursement is expressly legal in 16, unclear in 18, unspecified in 6 and expressly prohibited in 1. Donor reimbursement programs exist in 21 countries; 6 have been enacted in the last 5 years. Lost income is reimbursed in 17 countries, while travel, accommodation, meal and childcare costs are reimbursed in 12 to 19 countries. Ten countries have comprehensive programs, where all major cost categories are reimbursed to some extent. Out-of-country donors are reimbursed in 10 jurisdictions. Reimbursement is conditional on donor income in 7 countries, and recipient income in 2 countries. Many nations have programs that help living donors with their financial costs. These programs differ in operation and scope. Donors in other regions of the world are without support.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Asia
  • Canada
  • Donor Selection / economics
  • Eligibility Determination / economics
  • Europe
  • Financing, Personal
  • Health Care Costs
  • Health Expenditures
  • Health Policy / economics
  • Health Policy / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Humans
  • Income
  • Insurance, Health, Reimbursement / economics
  • Living Donors*
  • Tissue and Organ Procurement / economics*
  • Tissue and Organ Procurement / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Travel / economics
  • United States