• Jakarta-Globe- -March-23-2017Jakarta Globe | March 23, 2017
    [read the article]


    Nat'l Police Chief Urges Public Not to Believe Social Media Hoaxes

    Jakarta. National Police chief Gen. Tito Karnavian has urged members of the public to remain calm and not be tricked by news stories that the police have identified as "hoaxes."

  • Ahram-Online- -March-17-2017Ahram Online | March 17, 2017
    [read the article]


    By Mahmoud Aziz

    Egypt's State Council approves law to increase penalties for illegal organ transplants

    The Egyptian State Council has finished revising a law regulating organ transplant operations, which will include harsher penalties for illegal or forced operations.

  • Declaration-of-Istanbul-Custodian-Group- -March-8-2017Declaration of Istanbul Custodian Group | March 8, 2017
    [read more]


    Declaration of Istanbul Custodian Group shared World Kidney Day Official's photo

  • TribLIVE- -March-5-2017TribLIVE | March 5, 2017
    [read the article]


    By LUIS FÁBREGAS

    Thomas Starzl, father of organ transplantation, dies at 90

    Dr. Thomas E. Starzl, the organ transplant icon who revolutionized medicine by performing the first successful liver transplant and set the standard for the life-saving surgery, died Saturday. He was 90.

  • Declaration-of-Istanbul-Custodian-Group- -March-4-2017Declaration of Istanbul Custodian Group | March 4, 2017
    [read more]


    Protect your kidneys, prevent needs for transplants, prevent organtrafficking!

  • The-National- -February-28-2017The National | February 28, 2017
    [read the article]


    By Shireena Al Nowais

    Law will allow for kidney donations from deceased donors in the UAE

    Doctors creating transplant list as they prepare for law to come into force allowing donations from deceased people.

  • The-Pontifical-Academy-of-Sciences- -February-13-2017臓器売買と移植ツーリズムに関する科学アカデミーサミット教皇宣言 | February 25, 2017
    [read the statement]


    国際連合と世界保健総会の決議、2015年世界首長バチカンサミット、2014年奴隷制度に対する信仰指導者共同宣言、そして、2016年人身売買と組織犯罪に対する弾劾サミットにおいて臓器摘出を目的とした臓器売買、人身売買は人類に対する真の犯罪であり、全ての宗教、政治、社会のリーダーと国内・国際法によって真の犯罪であると認識されねばならいと宣言したローマ教皇Pope Francisの御意に沿い、我々、臓器売買に関する教皇科学アカデミー(PAS)サミットの署名参加者は、世界中の関係者を巻き込み、あらん限りの努力を惜しまずこれらの犯罪に立ち向かうことを決意した。...

  • Jakarta-Globe- -March-23-2017Jakarta Globe | March 23, 2017
    [read the article]


    Nat'l Police Chief Urges Public Not to Believe Social Media Hoaxes

    Jakarta. National Police chief Gen. Tito Karnavian has urged members of the public to remain calm and not be tricked by news stories that the police have identified as "hoaxes."

  • Ahram-Online- -March-17-2017Ahram Online | March 17, 2017
    [read the article]


    By Mahmoud Aziz

    Egypt's State Council approves law to increase penalties for illegal organ transplants

    The Egyptian State Council has finished revising a law regulating organ transplant operations, which will include harsher penalties for illegal or forced operations.

  • Declaration-of-Istanbul-Custodian-Group- -March-8-2017Declaration of Istanbul Custodian Group | March 8, 2017
    [read more]


    Declaration of Istanbul Custodian Group shared World Kidney Day Official's photo

  • TribLIVE- -March-5-2017TribLIVE | March 5, 2017
    [read the article]


    By LUIS FÁBREGAS

    Thomas Starzl, father of organ transplantation, dies at 90

    Dr. Thomas E. Starzl, the organ transplant icon who revolutionized medicine by performing the first successful liver transplant and set the standard for the life-saving surgery, died Saturday. He was 90.

  • Declaration-of-Istanbul-Custodian-Group- -March-4-2017Declaration of Istanbul Custodian Group | March 4, 2017
    [read more]


    Protect your kidneys, prevent needs for transplants, prevent organtrafficking!

  • The-National- -February-28-2017The National | February 28, 2017
    [read the article]


    By Shireena Al Nowais

    Law will allow for kidney donations from deceased donors in the UAE

    Doctors creating transplant list as they prepare for law to come into force allowing donations from deceased people.

  • The-Pontifical-Academy-of-Sciences- -February-13-2017臓器売買と移植ツーリズムに関する科学アカデミーサミット教皇宣言 | February 25, 2017
    [read the statement]


    国際連合と世界保健総会の決議、2015年世界首長バチカンサミット、2014年奴隷制度に対する信仰指導者共同宣言、そして、2016年人身売買と組織犯罪に対する弾劾サミットにおいて臓器摘出を目的とした臓器売買、人身売買は人類に対する真の犯罪であり、全ての宗教、政治、社会のリーダーと国内・国際法によって真の犯罪であると認識されねばならいと宣言したローマ教皇Pope Francisの御意に沿い、我々、臓器売買に関する教皇科学アカデミー(PAS)サミットの署名参加者は、世界中の関係者を巻き込み、あらん限りの努力を惜しまずこれらの犯罪に立ち向かうことを決意した。...

  • The-Age- -February-8-2017TIMETURK | February 21, 2017
    [read the article]


    By HABER MERKEZİ

    'Suriyeli mülteciler organ mafyasının kıskacında'

    Alman medyası Türkiye’deki zor durumda olan Suriyeli sığınmacıların organlarını sattığı yönünde bir haber yaptı.

  • The-Pontifical-Academy-of-Sciences- -February-13-2017教皇科学院打击人体器官买卖和移植旅游全球峰会声明 | February 21, 2017
    [read the statement]


    根据联合国大会与世界卫生大会有关决议,秉承2015年世界各大城市市长参加的梵蒂冈峰会,以及2014年各大宗教界领袖反对现代奴役的联合宣言,依照教皇方济各2016年6月在反对人口贩卖和有组织犯罪法官峰会上的陈述:“国际法、各国法律、全球的宗教、政治和社会领袖需要认识到人体器官买卖和以获取器官为目的的人口贩卖是一种反人类的罪行”,参加教皇科学院打击器官买卖和移植旅游全球峰会并签署声明的各国代表集体郑重宣布,我们将联合全世界所有与移植事业有关的责任方共同打击这种反人类的罪行。...

  • The-Daily-Star- -February-19-2017The Daily Star | February 19, 2017
    [read the article]


    By Porimol Palma

    What if Kidneys Fail? Law stands in way of transplantation

    At 23, her life should have been full of colours but instead it is as pale as it could get. This spring has brought her no joy at all.

  • The-Arab-Weekly- -February-18-2017The Arab Weekly | February 18, 2017
    [read the article]


    By Ibrahim Ouf

    Egypt struggles to stem organ trafficking

    Efforts to stem organ traffick­ing may fail because of socio-economic conditions in Egypt.

The Risk of Discrimination and Stigmatization in Organ Transplantation and Trafficking

Screen Shot 2015-10-03 at 5.36.37 pmAlireza Bagheri. 2015. "The Risk of Discrimination and Stigmatization in Organ Transplantation and Trafficking" In Bagheri, A., Moreno, J., Semplici, S. (Ed.s). Global Bioethics: The Impact of the UNESCO International Bioethics Committee. Springer.

The global shortage of organs for transplantation has led to unethical practices in organ transplantation, such as organ commercialism and trafficking. Concerns have been raised about unjust and discriminatory allocation of the available organs in organ transplant programs as well as exploitation and stigmatization of individuals who provide their organs through organ trafficking and tourism. There have been global efforts to describe unethical practices in organ transplantation and in tackling organ commercialism and trafficking, international documents have justified their arguments mostly based on the exploitation inherent in organ sales and trafficking. Missing in the discussion of organ transplantation and trafficking are the perspectives of vulnerable patients as organ recipients and poor people as organ providers, and the discrimination and stigmatization they experience.
This chapter elaborates the risk of discrimination and stigmatization in organ transplantation and trafficking, and reviews current global efforts against unethical practice in organ transplantation, including the recent UNESCO report on non-discrimination and non-stigmatization. It calls all stakeholders to ensure that in the process of organ transplantation, organ donors and recipients are not subject to discrimination and stigmatization.

Incentives, kidney donation, and the myth of the Iranian waiting list

In a recent New York Times article, Tina Rosenberg argues that the United States should introduce financial incentives for living kidney donors. She writes, “In 2014, there were 17,106 kidney transplants in the United States, but more than twice that many people went on the waiting list.”

She believes that use of incentives could resolve this problem because the legal Iranian market for organs has “essentially eliminated” the waiting list for a kidney.

Such claims about the Iranian waiting list, which are commonly invoked in support of kidney markets in the United States and elsewhere, are simply false. People with end stage kidney failure living in the United States are more likely to receive a transplant than those living in Iran. Commentators debating the issue of incentives for donation have a responsibility to draw on the best available evidence in their arguments, and should not simply recycle and perpetuate myths about the success of the Iranian market.

What counts as proof that a waiting list has been eliminated?

The alleged success of the Iranian kidney market is regularly cited in public commentary and academic debate by advocates of financial incentives. References in scholarly publications can usually be traced back to a 2002 publication by Iranian nephrologist Ghods in which he declared that, “the renal transplant waiting list [in Iran] was eliminated by the end of 1999.”

What does it mean to “eliminate” a waiting list for transplantation? In many countries people in need of a kidney transplant may be unable to join a national waiting list for transplantation because

  • They cannot access healthcare services necessary for diagnosis of kidney failure, or required to prepare them for transplantation such as dialysis;
  • They cannot afford transplantation services or immunosuppression;
  • They do not meet eligibility criteria for the waiting list, where criteria such as age or comorbidities are designed to keep the list sufficiently short to match the supply of organs available for transplant;
  • There is no national waiting list for transplantation.

In a 2006 publication by Ghods and Savaj which is also cited as evidence that incentives have solved the problem of organ shortages in Iran, the authors again claim that “by 1999, the renal transplant waiting lists in the country was eliminated successfully”. In this paper, they offer an explanation which shows that the size of the waiting list in Iran is influenced by lower rates of diagnosis of end stage kidney disease:

In Iran, as in other developing countries, the prevalence of patients with ESRD is markedly lower compared with the prevalence of patients who are on renal replacement therapy in developed countries. A major cause of this is the many patients who are from villages and small towns and do not receive a diagnosis and are not referred for dialysis therapy. There also is no adopted restricting policy for accepting patients with ESRD for renal transplantation; however, the low prevalence of patients with ESRD results in fewer numbers of transplant candidates. This is the main reason that the renal transplant waiting list was eliminated quickly and successfully in Iran….”

Ghods, A. J., & Savaj, S. (2006). Iranian model of paid and regulated living-unrelated kidney donation. Clinical journal of the American Society of Nephrology, 1(6), 1136-1145. (p.1139)

The truth about the Iranian waiting list

Claims about the successful elimination of the Iranian waiting list in the early 2000s were questioned by commentators such as Griffin. However, incentive advocates have preferred to express ethical concerns about some elements of the Iranian model, arguing that better regulated incentive systems will address these, rather than to question the success of the model.

Commentators writing today ought to draw on more recent analysis of the Iranian market. A recent report by Iranian experts clearly shows that there is indeed a waiting list for kidney transplantation in Iran:

Rouchi, A. H., Ghaemi, F., & Aghighi, M. (2014). Outlook of Organ Transplantation in Iran. Iranian journal of kidney diseases, 8(3).

In this paper, the authors provide the following table summarising the disparity between the number of transplants and the number of patients waitlisted for transplantation in 2011:

Iran Waiting list

The authors note that, “the never-disappearing waiting list for kidney transplantation will be growing steadily”.

UNODC publishes toolkit for assessment of trafficking in persons for organ removal

Screen Shot 2015-06-28 at 5.11.07 pmThe United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime has published a toolkit for use in the assessment of trafficking in persons for organ removal.

"The toolkit aims to provide both a general overview of trafficking in persons for the purpose of organ removal and specific tools to assist concerned actors with assessing the phenomenon. The structure of the toolkit reflects this two-pronged approach in that its first part seeks to inform about the context in which trafficking in persons for organ removal can take place, the relevant legislative framework and international guidance, actors and modi operandi as well as good practice responses. The second part has very specific questionnaires that aim to allow for a better understanding of and a more systematic collection of data on the crime."

You can download the Assessment Toolkit here courtesy of UNODC.

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