The cost of giving...
September 30, 2020 10:37 AM   Subscribe

Attn. fellow Canadians: A close family member of mine is in need of a liver transplant. I would like to donate part of my own. However...

Complication: I am a Canadian non-resident (living abroad) and so am not currently covered by Canadian universal health insurance. The family member in question is covered.

I am willing to drop what I’m doing abroad to be home and support my family through donation and just being there for them, but time may be short and it will take roughly three months to qualify for health care coverage after I repatriate. Their need may be too urgent to be able to wait that long.

I would like to know: Are organ donors charged for their part of the procedure or any of the directly associated medical treatment? (Blood donors obviously aren’t, but that’s quite a bit different in magnitude.) Or, would the full “cost” be incurred by the recipient and thus fall under their health coverage?

Any other factors I’m missing?

Thanks in advance for your insight!
posted by elected_potato to Health & Fitness (5 answers total)
Below is the Living Donor Manual for the University Health Network in Toronto. It has some information on how costs are covered for their program and whether out of country donors are accepted. Depending on where your relative is being cared for, the program may or may not be different.
posted by TORunner at 11:15 AM on September 30, 2020 [1 favorite]

Or, would the full “cost” be incurred by the recipient and thus fall under their health coverage?

I've not been through this personally, but you might try contacting one of the "Living Donor" programs at a hospital or health care network in the province you'd be doing this in. In Ontario, University Health Network has a Living Liver Donor program, and I'd imagine they (or a program like theirs in another province or city) would be able to tell you how living donor costs/expenses are covered in a situation such as yours.

Any other factors I’m missing?

In terms of other costs, like travel, Ontario (for example) does have the Program for Reimbursing Expenses of Living Organ Donors (PRELOD), which mentions this:

PRELOD is available to anyone in Ontario, out-of-province or out-of-country who donates or intends to donate an organ or part of an organ to an Ontario resident. The living organ recipient must have an Ontario health card to show proof he/she is covered by the Ontario Health Insurance Program (OHIP).

It also lists the expenses that can be claimed, like travel, meals, loss of income subsidy (this one is for residents only, apparently), etc., and the eligibility for them.

AFAIK, some other provinces have similar programs for reimbursement of some other costs for someone as a donor, but who is not currently a resident.

The Canadian Liver Foundation has some more information on living donor programs, and you might want to contact them directly with province-specific questions as well.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 11:17 AM on September 30, 2020 [2 favorites]

Besides the cost of the procedure, I think you'll also need to consider the potential costs of treatment should there be any unexpected complications.
posted by trig at 11:49 AM on September 30, 2020 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I am not sure about other provinces but Ontario has been waiving the three month waiting period for Canadian Citizens/PRs to obtain OHIP since March
posted by saucysault at 12:08 PM on September 30, 2020 [3 favorites]

The Canadian artist who draws the webcomic Robot Hugs recently donated a lobe of their liver. They did several comics about the experience, starting here: New Project.

Their donation was to an anonymous recipient, so things may be slightly different, but it might be a place to start.
posted by Lexica at 12:24 PM on September 30, 2020 [1 favorite]

« Older Best Splurge Laptop For School   |   It’s been a beach of a year Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.