How much are your organs worth?


Heart operationGetty

The NHS could finally break with an ethical position that could net you a small fortune: if it follows the advice of a new report and decides it is willing to pay for organs.

So what are your organs worth and how can you cash in?

Payments to donors

The bad news is that for the majority of the organs you're going to need to die and donate them in order to get the money - which is quite an extreme step to take for a payout.

The Nuffield Council on Bioethics spent 18 months examining how it could increase the number of people who donate their organs, and its report recommended that the NHS should pay the funeral expenses of people who donate. It has suggested it should pay anything between £1,500 and £5,000 for a funeral - as long as it considers the costs to be reasonable.

It has ruled out being able to directly pay for organs from live or dead donors on the grounds that donating an organ ought to remain an altruistic act rather than one driven by a lack of cash.

However, it has suggested that living donors of things like eggs and sperm for use in fertility treatment should receive full expenses, including the lost earnings from their time in hospital, rather than being subject to a £250 cap.

Radical solutions

It's a more radical suggestion to combat the severe shortage of organs. At the moment 8,000 people are on the waiting list for some sort of transplant. People spend an average of three years on the waiting list before finding a donor, and in that time three people die every day. It is a set of figures the report suggests that the NHS cannot live with any longer and new solutions need to be found to old problems.

The report also suggested an 'opt-out' scheme, where people have to opt out of donating their organs rather than opt in. However, while this scheme is in operation elsewhere in the world, the opt out rates can be sky high among those groups it is specifically meant to target, particularly where relatives can choose to opt out after a loved one has died.

So what do you think? Is this a clever solution that will pick up those who previously refused to donate organs, or will it mean the relatives of people in a critical condition pushing the patient into signing up in order to save themselves the cost of the funeral.

Is it a great way to kill two birds with one stone, or an attack on medical ethics and the sanctity of life? Let us know in the comments.