UH Law Center Spring 2018 Scholarship Colloquium: William & Mary Law School Professor Nate Oman explores ways to increase kidney donations

Nate Oman of William & Mary Law School suggested novel ways to increase kidney donations during a talk with faculty and students Monday in the Hendricks Heritage Room.

Feb. 6, 2018 – Nate Oman, a professor at William & Mary Law School, spoke at the University of Houston Law Center on Monday as part of the Spring 2018 scholarship colloquium.

Oman argued that with thousands of people across the country dying every year while awaiting kidney transplants, carefully designed financial incentives may increase the amount of donors. His presentation was based on his draft paper, "Beyond Gift and Bargain: Some Suggestions for Increasing Kidney Exchanges."

While seeking to avoid a full-fledged market for organs, Oman's proposal is that participants in kidney exchanges obtain a performance bond in the form of a standby letter of credit from a third party. Oman acknowledged this would likely require an amendment to current federal law.

"Bonding is a common device from commercial law that helps generate trust," Oman said.  "The most important thing it would do would be disclosing information about people who are serious about donating and have a very low probability of reneging on their promise. It would also provide some level of insurance.

"My second suggestion is that we allow payment of cash incentives to kidney donors in the very limited situation where such a kidney on the front-end would facilitate a long chain of life-saving donations."

The next speaker will be Harvard Law School Professor Glenn Cohen on Feb. 12.

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