• Bonds of lifeThe Japan News | 27 October 2017
    [read the article]


    By The Yomiuri Shimbun

    Bonds of life — the Organ Transplant Law 20 years on

    The Yomiuri Shimbun writes in a five part installment on the Organ Transplant Law in Japan and the 20 years after it came in practice.

    The article link focus on desperate recipients who has traveled to other countries for transplantation, but for a fuller understanding of the situation in Japan, read all five.

  • Should you be allowed to sell your kidneyGizmodo Media Group | 09 October 2017
    [read the article]


    By Whitney Kimball

    Should You Be Allowed to Sell Your Kidney?

    Giz Asks, talked to bioethicists, disagreeing doctors and the World Health Organization about their opinions...

  • Kidney trafficking broker faces courtKhmer Times | 20 October 2017
    [read the article]


    By Buth Reaksmey Kongkea

    Kidney trafficking broker faces court

    An alleged member of an organ trafficking ring was charged yesterday over a year-long kidney sale operation involving at least 10 victims.

    Construction worker Cheoun Thi, 38, of Phnom Penh was accused of unlawful removal of organs with purpose and “the act of selling, buying or exchanging a person”, which includes selling, buying or exchanging organs.

    The charges, laid in Phnom Penh Municipal Court, fall under the Law on Suppression of Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation. They carry a jail term of up to 15 years...

  • Nigerians warnedBuzzNigeria | 18 October 2017
    [read the article]


    By Iheoma Hendy

    Kidney Trafficking: Federal Goverment Alarmed Over High Rate Of Practice, Expose Hospitals

    The health ministry has written to the Nigerian Medical Association to warn all doctors in relevant specialties to create awareness for Nigerians intending to travel to Egypt for medical attention.

    The memo by the Director for Hospital services, Dr Wapada I. Balami for the Minister of Health entitled, "41 suspected illegal human kidney traffickers on the trail in Egypt" raises concern about patients possibly seeking treatment abroad and their doctors referring them to any complicit hospital...

  • Kidney for sale - Iran has a legal market for the organsLos Angeles Times | 15 October 2017
    [read the article]


    By Shashank Bengali and Ramin Mostaghim

    'Kidney for sale': Iran has a legal market for the organs, but the system doesn't always work

    The advertisements are scrawled in marker on brick walls and tree trunks, and affixed to telephone utility boxes, sidewalks and a road sign pointing the way to one of Iran’s leading hospitals.

    “Kidney for sale,” read the dozens of messages, accompanied by phone numbers and blood types, splashed along a tree-lined street opposite the Hasheminejad Kidney Center in Tehran.

    New ads appear almost daily. Behind each is a tale of individual woe — joblessness, debt, a family emergency — in a country beset by economic despair.

  • Eight arrested in Nowshera for illegal kidney transplantsThe Express Tribune | 26 September 2017
    [read the article]


    By Tribune Correspondent

    Eight arrested in Nowshera for illegal kidney transplants

    The FIA has arrested eight people, including a surgeon, for being involved in an illegal kidney transplant racket in Nowshera, officials said on Tuesday. “It [kidney transplantation] was being carried out illegally where poor people were offered some money for donating their kidneys,” said Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) official Mumtaz...

  • Why kidney rackets in India flourishHindustan Times | 04 October 2017
    [read the article]


    By Sanchita Sharma

    Why kidney rackets in India flourish with impunity

    The lynchpin of the most unprecedented racket was Amit Kumar (pic), who has no training in medicine or surgery. He has instead shown skill in evading the law, changing names and moving cities several times each time he secured bail after an arrest.

    Each year, more than two lakh (100,000) people need new kidneys but only 8,000 get them. The demand-supply mismatch creates a space for organ rackets where fake doctors carry out surgeries and forge documents to show donors and recipients as family...

  • Bonds of lifeThe Japan News | 27 October 2017
    [read the article]


    By The Yomiuri Shimbun

    Bonds of life — the Organ Transplant Law 20 years on

    The Yomiuri Shimbun writes in a five part installment on the Organ Transplant Law in Japan and the 20 years after it came in practice.

    The article link focus on desperate recipients who has traveled to other countries for transplantation, but for a fuller understanding of the situation in Japan, read all five.

  • Should you be allowed to sell your kidneyGizmodo Media Group | 09 October 2017
    [read the article]


    By Whitney Kimball

    Should You Be Allowed to Sell Your Kidney?

    Giz Asks, talked to bioethicists, disagreeing doctors and the World Health Organization about their opinions...

  • Kidney trafficking broker faces courtKhmer Times | 20 October 2017
    [read the article]


    By Buth Reaksmey Kongkea

    Kidney trafficking broker faces court

    An alleged member of an organ trafficking ring was charged yesterday over a year-long kidney sale operation involving at least 10 victims.

    Construction worker Cheoun Thi, 38, of Phnom Penh was accused of unlawful removal of organs with purpose and “the act of selling, buying or exchanging a person”, which includes selling, buying or exchanging organs.

    The charges, laid in Phnom Penh Municipal Court, fall under the Law on Suppression of Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation. They carry a jail term of up to 15 years...

  • Nigerians warnedBuzzNigeria | 18 October 2017
    [read the article]


    By Iheoma Hendy

    Kidney Trafficking: Federal Goverment Alarmed Over High Rate Of Practice, Expose Hospitals

    The health ministry has written to the Nigerian Medical Association to warn all doctors in relevant specialties to create awareness for Nigerians intending to travel to Egypt for medical attention.

    The memo by the Director for Hospital services, Dr Wapada I. Balami for the Minister of Health entitled, "41 suspected illegal human kidney traffickers on the trail in Egypt" raises concern about patients possibly seeking treatment abroad and their doctors referring them to any complicit hospital...

  • Kidney for sale - Iran has a legal market for the organsLos Angeles Times | 15 October 2017
    [read the article]


    By Shashank Bengali and Ramin Mostaghim

    'Kidney for sale': Iran has a legal market for the organs, but the system doesn't always work

    The advertisements are scrawled in marker on brick walls and tree trunks, and affixed to telephone utility boxes, sidewalks and a road sign pointing the way to one of Iran’s leading hospitals.

    “Kidney for sale,” read the dozens of messages, accompanied by phone numbers and blood types, splashed along a tree-lined street opposite the Hasheminejad Kidney Center in Tehran.

    New ads appear almost daily. Behind each is a tale of individual woe — joblessness, debt, a family emergency — in a country beset by economic despair.

  • Eight arrested in Nowshera for illegal kidney transplantsThe Express Tribune | 26 September 2017
    [read the article]


    By Tribune Correspondent

    Eight arrested in Nowshera for illegal kidney transplants

    The FIA has arrested eight people, including a surgeon, for being involved in an illegal kidney transplant racket in Nowshera, officials said on Tuesday. “It [kidney transplantation] was being carried out illegally where poor people were offered some money for donating their kidneys,” said Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) official Mumtaz...

  • Why kidney rackets in India flourishHindustan Times | 04 October 2017
    [read the article]


    By Sanchita Sharma

    Why kidney rackets in India flourish with impunity

    The lynchpin of the most unprecedented racket was Amit Kumar (pic), who has no training in medicine or surgery. He has instead shown skill in evading the law, changing names and moving cities several times each time he secured bail after an arrest.

    Each year, more than two lakh (100,000) people need new kidneys but only 8,000 get them. The demand-supply mismatch creates a space for organ rackets where fake doctors carry out surgeries and forge documents to show donors and recipients as family...

  • From Yemen to EgyptMiddle East Eye | 30 September 2017
    [read the article]


    By MEE contributor

    Misery of Yemen's organ donors: 'It is better to starve to death'

    Ali was desperate for work. War had engulfed Yemen, he had eight children to support and he couldn't get enough jobs as a labourer to make ends meet. In early 2016 he yet again found himself walking up and down the streets near the Qat market in al-Sonaina, a quiet and poor neighbourhood of the Yemeni capital Sanaa...

  • Rewarding families WebsiteScroll.in | 28 September 2017
    [read the article]


    By Sanjay Nagral, Vivek Jha & Dominique Martin

    Rewarding families of deceased organ donors is an ethical minefield, especially in India

    India, with its history of organ trade rackets, should be cautious before proposing incentives that may be on the slippery slope towards organ commerce.

    In September, the Central government announced plans to set up a fund for families of people who have donated organs after brain stem death. The fund will support the education of children of deceased donors as well as medical expenses of other family members...

Organs for Sale - An Ethnographic Examination of the International Organ Trade

Screen Shot 2015-10-03 at 5.50.19 pmSusanne Lundin. 2015. Organs for Sale An Ethnographic Examination of the International Organ Trade. Palgrave Pivot.

After four years of queuing on the Swedish list for transplant kidneys, Sam was tired of waiting – he went to Pakistan and bought a new kidney. But where did the new kidney come from? And was the donation of the organ he received really voluntary? In this book, Susanne Lundin explores the murky world of organ trade, where desperate patients like Sam are small pieces in a big puzzle. In her ethnographic work, she tracks exploited farm workers in Moldova, prosecutors in Israel and surgeons in the Philippines. Utilizing unique source material she depicts a rapidly growing organ market characterized by both advanced medical technology and human trafficking.

 

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”.

DICG Login