Monday, March 18, 2013

Fewer Israelis seeking transplants abroad: more live donations at home

New laws have limited transplants overseas, and have provided some payments to living donors in Israel.  Haaretz has the story (may be gated):
"Law meant to prevent organ trafficking passed in 2008 also means the number of transplants within the country, as well as the percentage of Haredi men seeking to donate for altruistic reasons, is on the upswing; more women serve as live donors than men."

"The number of Israelis seeking kidney transplants abroad is plummeting, in the wake of a 2008 law meant to prevent organ trafficking.

"In 2007, 143 Israelis received kidney transplants abroad, but according to Health Ministry statistics, that number took a nosedive to 35 in 2011.

"The sharp decline comes as a result of more stringent guidelines for transplants; since the law was passed, HMOs have approved funding for kidney transplants abroad only from cadavers in the United States, Russia and Latvia.

"While transplants abroad have dropped, the new Organ Transplant Law has also led to a 50-percent increase in kidney transplants from live donors in Israel. A new study conducted at Beilinson Hospital and at Tel Aviv University found that the law, which both prohibits the sale of organs but also – in a first-time ruling – allows live donors to receive monetary compensation, has led to a significant change in the mix of such donors. Haredi men are now seeking, via the law, to donate kidneys for altruistic reasons. In these cases, the donors are not related to the patients.

"The payment of donors under the new law, amounting to thousands of shekels, began in August 2010, covering all live organ donors in Israel from May 2008. At the same time, statistics provided by the National Transplant Center showed a steep increase of 64 percent in the number of live kidney donors in 2011 (117 transplants) as compared with 2010 (71). The number of transplants in 2012 (108) was at a similar level.

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