Cash incentives and the payment of funeral expenses are two ideas being put forward to encourage people to donate human organs and tissue.
The Nuffield Council on Bioethics is asking the public if it is ethical to use financial incentives to increase donations of organs, eggs and sperm.
Paying for most types of organs and tissue is illegal in the UK.
The public consultation will last 12 weeks and the council's findings will be published in autumn 2011.
It will explore ways of boosting donations from living people of bodily material such as blood or sperm, as well as ways to encourage more people to sign up for the donor register and state their wishes for their organs to be used by others after their death.
As well as cash payments or contributions towards funeral costs, other options include priority for the donor if they require a transplant later in life, the payment of more generous expenses and the sending of certificates or "thank you" letters to the donor or donor's family.
Demand for organ donors has increased in recent years and now far exceeds supply.
Professor Dame Marilyn Strathern, who is chairing the Council's working party on this issue, said she wanted to explore all the issues involved in responding to that demand.
She said: "We need to think about the morality of pressing people to donate their bodily material.
"Offering payment or other incentives may encourage people to take risks or go against their beliefs in a way they could not have otherwise done," she said.
Each year, 1,000 people in the UK die while waiting for transplants.
Around 8,000 people are currently waiting for an organ, but there were 3,500 transplant operations last year.
In response to the consultation paper, Joyce Robins, co-director of the campaigning group Patient Concern, complained that there was no patient representative on the working party.
She also queried whether the question of paying for donation of eggs, sperm and organs was even a priority in the current financial climate.
"The idea of paying living donors for organs is abhorrent as this would be tempting the poor to risk their lives.
"Offers of payment to the family of someone who has just died could tempt them to go against the wishes of their loved ones at a time when they are most vulnerable," she said.
BBC News - Public to have say on organ donation incentives