In a few months, hospitals will have to go through a series of steps before living donors can give up an organ. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has established a few federal rules that include requiring hospitals to provide living donors with a donor advocate, explain the statistical chance of success for both the donor and the recipient, warn donors that future health problems might not be covered by insurance and that gaining insurance could become more difficult and tell donors that they may opt out at any time.

Tarris Rosell with the Center for Practical BioEthics says most hospitals have already been practicing these regulations on their own. Rosell stresses the importance of having protection in place for people who are undertaking a medical risk without any phisiological benefit.

Rosell says the number of patients neeeding organs such as kidneys, livers, even lobes of lung are dramatically on the rise, while the number of deceased donors has remained relatively static. He says, as a result, the state has been pushing for more living donors. He says the risks for donating a kidney for example are generally very low. Liver transplants and lung transplants can be significantly riskier, though Rosell says most living donors say the risks are worth it.



AUDIO: Laura McNamara reports (:60 MP3)