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17 January 2014 : Original article  

Organ donation as an ‘altruistic gift’: Incentives and reciprocity in deceased organ donation from a UK Polish migrant perspective

Chloe SharpABCDEF, Gurch RandhawaAEG

DOI: 10.12659/AOT.889745

Ann Transplant 2014; 19:23-31

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Incentives and reciprocity have been widely debated within the literature as an alternative to altruism to motivate the public to register and consent to organ donation. This pilot study was the first to examine the views of the UK Polish migrant community toward these issues.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: One-to-one and small group interviews were conducted in English and Polish to collect data. The interviews were recorded and transcribed and interviews in Polish were translated into English. All transcripts were coded, codes were grouped by theme and emergent themes were constantly compared to the new data until saturation.

RESULTS: Participants were motivated to donate altruistically but would accept reciprocity for organs once consent was given. Payment for organs was viewed as unfavourable but participants would accept contribution toward funeral expenses.

CONCLUSIONS: Deceased organ donation was viewed as an ‘altruistic gift’. ‘Altruism’ and ‘gift’ are problematic in deceased organ donation and could explain the challenges that arise in the incentives and reciprocity debate. Mauss’s gift exchange theory could frame incentives as forming the ‘obligation to give’ and could encourage registration but could lead to coercion. Reciprocity could benefit families and be viewed as ‘fair’ and a token of gratitude.

Keywords: Organ Donation, attitudes, incentives, Polish migrant

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Annals of Transplantation eISSN: 2329-0358
Annals of Transplantation eISSN: 2329-0358