Government discusses compensation for Belgian organ donors

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Live organ donors could receive compensation for donating an organ in the future. It is hoped that this will encourage more people to donate an organ while they are still alive.

The government is in the process of determining the costs of donating an organ to the donator.

Organs for transplantation usually come from people who have just died, often from those who have died in a traffic accident.

A deceased person is only considered not to be a potential donor if they have signed a paper prior to death specifically asking not to be a donor. In the absence of that paper, everyone in Belgium automatically goes on the donor register.

Donating organs while still alive is very uncommon in Belgium and usually only occurs between family members. 

In other countries donating an organ to a person who is not part of the family is more common. Belgium has only 4 live donors per million inhabitants, while in the Netherlands the figures are 22 in a million inhabitants. 

The government thinks the reason why live donors are so rare in Belgium may be because the price is so high for a donor, with the excessive medical costs and the possible loss of income because of time off from work.

The government is studying the costs involved in donating an organ so that live donors can be compensated. “This intention is not however to set up some sort of organ trade”, stresses the ministry of Public Health. 

It is illegal to make a profit of any kind for donating an organ.

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