Table 1

Potential solutions to the organ scarcity problem

Proposed solutionAdvantages(Possible) disadvantages
Increase number of living donationsMinor increase in number of organs availablePoses risk to donors;
Limited scope
Opt-out consent to posthumous donationPotential increase in number of organs availableMay not reflect donors’ wishes; not always effective
Mandatory donation after deathSubstantial increase in number of organs availableSeen as disrespecting the dead and their families
Ignore family veto of donation from registered donorRespects wishes of would-be donors; increases availability of organsImpractical; disrespects families
Various incentives (such as tax breaks for donors)Potential increase in number of organs availableRelatively untested; seen as removing altruistic motive
Donation after cardiac deathIncreases pool of potential donorsDonors might not be fully brain dead in some cases
Market in human organs1Increase in pool of donorsJustice concerns
Organs from transgene pigsIncrease in pool of organsSacrifice of pigs/zoonoses
Lab-grown organsNo donor requiredHigher risk of rejection
Bionic organsNo donor requiredHigher risk of rejection
Chimaera organsLower risk of rejection than any other optionRequires sacrifice of pigs or primates