Crime & Lawsuits, Government, Healthcare

How to Buy a Human Kidney

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Need a kidney? Good luck. The average waiting time for a kidney is 1,121 days, and around 4,500 people die every year waiting for a kidney. Currently around over 78,000 Americans are waiting for kidneys.  The number of deaths while waiting are expected to become much worse in the coming years as baby boomers age.

Desperate for help, some patients are flying all over the world to buy kidneys from living donors. It’s a gamble, and the kidney one buys might not work out. But when you know you’re going to get worse and you’re tired of sitting around waiting while you’re miserable and sick, well…desperate times call for desperate measures.

Just ask Mark Schofield.

A couple of years ago, the 43 year old flew out to the Philippines with £40,000 in hopes of finding a poverty stricken Filipino who could use the money from selling a kidney. Simply put, Schofield is what’s known as a “transplant tourist.”

Welcome to One Kidney Island

It’s no coincidence that Mr. Schofield went to the Philippines to purchase his kidney. He’s just one of many transplant tourists who visits the poor island to purchase organs from living donors. That’s why the Philippines has earned the nickname “One Kidney Island.”

As The Daily Mail describes it:

“They stand in line in the stinking slums, their shirts lifted and arms raised to reveal the 13-inch long scars carved into their sides.

Poor, desperate and mutilated – these are the human victims of the profitable trade in kidneys in the Philippines.

For a cash payment of £1,000 – a fantastic amount in a country where 15million people earn a dollar a day – each of these “volunteers” has donated an organ to a wealthy foreigner.”

It’s unknown how many donors die during surgery or from infections weeks later, but given the destitute, unsterile conditions many of the donors live in, it’s safe to assume that not all kidney donors have the chance to spend their earnings.

Other Countries Where You Can Buy A Kidney

While the Philippines is the most notorious kidney market, there are many other nations where the organ trade is very easy to find. These include:

  • Brazil
  • Pakistan
  • India
  • South Africa
  • Turkey
  • America

Yes, you read that right: America. While most kidneys are purchased overseas, with the right connections you absolutely can buy a kidney right here in the good old USA. Of course, it’s highly illegal and can probably land you in prison, but it’s still being done nonetheless.  As you may recall from last year’s New Jersey sting operation that arrested two mayors and a few Rabbis, a human kidney broker was also arrested.  The broker was arranging for Americans to buy kidneys for $160,000 a pop.

Exploiting Poor Donors

You may have noticed there’s a huge discrepancy between what Mr. Schofield paid for his kidney (£40,000) and what donors earn for their organ (£1,000). Needless to say, this reeks of exploitation. The donor who is putting his life on the line to give up a kidney earns just 2.5% of the kidney’s selling price.

Global Organ Black Market Meets Two Pressing Needs

Despite the exploitation of donors and the dangers recipients face, the simple truth is the global organ black market is alive and well. And it’s constantly growing because it meets the needs of both people it serves.

  • Donors are very poor, and despite the small percentage they earn, this is still typically the equivalent of several years’ pay for them.
  • Recipients face death if they don’t get a kidney transplant fast. Buying a kidney on the black market could save and extend their lives.

Not all markets are in the private sector

In China, unlike in other countries where organ deals are purely private sector black markets, the government plays a gruesome role.  In a 2001 Village Voice article, an America doctor spoke about the many Chinese American patients he sees who have received organs from executed Chinese prisoners.  Many of these prisoners are executed for nonviolent offenses and have questionable due process rights.  Since then, the situation has apparently not gotten any better — according to a 2006 Daily Mail article, 95% of organs transplanted in China come from executed prisoners, and British citizens often buy them for around $100,000.

Organ selling law

In the United States the The National Organ Transplant Act of 1984, co sponsored by Al Gore, outlawed the sale of human organs.  However, there are some gray areas.  For example, in the case of non-living donors, organ procurement agencies often cover the funeral expenses of donors, which some say is equivalent to bribing the family. In the case of living donors, often donors are paid for their “expenses” incidental to donation.  In either case, there is temptation and opportunity to bend the law.

Not Enough Donors

Regardless of what you think about the ethics of buying and selling kidneys and other organs, the simple truth is there just aren’t enough donors to go around. Every year, thousands continue to wait for a new kidney because there aren’t many volunteers willing to part with their kidney. Several options have been proposed for years, ranging from tax credits to automatic opt in policies, but none has worked.

What do you think? Should people be allowed to sell their kidneys?

38 Comments

  1. 1

    I don’t even understand how I finished up here, however I thought
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    you’re going to a famous blogger if you happen to aren’t already.
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  2. 2

    I am a student researching on the subject. Of people who sell and buy kidneys. I was wondering if I can interview one of you? A buyer and a seller please This subject intrigues me. It is solely for academic purposes. No personal information will be given nickga@live.com

  3. 3

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  5. 5

    hola soy de Colombia tengo 30 años y por problemas económicos me veo en la necesidad de vender uno de mis riñones la persona interesada escribir al correo maria.mendoza.polo@gmail.com o llamar al celular 3205354484

  6. 6

    hola soy de colombia tengo 30 años soy O+ (dador universal) estoy dispuesta a vender uno de mis riñones la persona interesada escribir al correo maria.mendoza.polo@gmail.com o llamar al elular 57 3205354484

  7. 7

    I’m 26 years old my blood type B +, I don’t drink alcohols, I don’t smoke, I’m an athlete, I want to be a Donor with compensation. Thank you. contact me: bubrekkk@abv.bg

  8. 8

    fianancial problems are more doctor sorry

  9. 9

    I’m 30 years old my blood type O+, I don’t drink alcohols, I don’t smoke, Im in good health, I want to be a Donor with compensation. Thank you. contact me: pussypoos@yahoo.com

  10. 10

    31y/o healthy male in need of money for college. any serious inquiries may contact me via email @ bshepard2448@gmail.com. ONLY IF SERIOUS WITH SERIOUS OFFER !!!!

  11. 11

    I need money. Healthy donor here.
    Antman81973@gmail.com

  12. 12

    sono italiano, imprenditore, padre di tre bambini. vendo rene a 300.000 euro

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  14. 15

    Heya i’m for the primary time here. I came across this board and I to find It truly useful & it helped me out a lot. I’m hoping to present something back and help others like you aided me.

  15. 16

    I want to sell my kidney to anyone in need…as i am in need of money……please contact me via my email adress….

  16. 17

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  17. 18

    bno yo quiero vender mi riñon a tan solo 55000mil dolares al cahs y ud cubre mi operaciopn ok mi fono es 950838539 o 083 782505 fijo rural entonces tan solo aese monto de dinero te estoy dejando mi riñon por necesidad economica por momento

  18. 19

    I enjoy, result in I discovered just what I used to be having a look for. You’ve ended my 4 day long hunt! God Bless you man. Have a nice day. Bye

  19. 20
    Simone A. Ballack

    I´m a 43 year old woman Brazilian living in Sao Paulo, Brazil blood type B+ looking for a potencial buyer .Hospital Expenses and recorerying will be paid for the one who will receive.Negotiation is available home phone number 011-55-1138039808 or cell phone 011-55-11-76444270.I can speak English,Spanish, Portuguese some Arabic and French.THIS IS NOT A JOKE OR SCAM

  20. 21

    hello
    I sinan
    0 Rh + blood group
    32 years old healthy male
    Böbreğimi sell $ 200,000
    turkey organ transplantation is achieved
    Mail those who want to reach
    I can not wire more than my English is not
    sinanevci2000@hotmail.com

  21. 22

    same to …………………………….

  22. 23

    Got one to give to someone

  23. 24

    Every kidney patient can be helped if he joins our Kidney Transplant Assistance group on Facebook.

  24. 25

    Kidney :-) u know u want it

  25. 26
    my name is bernard v. i'am looking to sell a kidney a.s.a.p.

    please contact me at [email removed],com needing to sell a kidney a.s.a.p for 50k usd

  26. 27

    I WANT SELL ME KIDNEY. [phone number removed] VIETNAM.Email; [email removed]. IWANT 20,000USD.

  27. 28

    good morning I want to sell one of my kidneys the price is negotiable if anyone is interested my blood type is B RH + i’m from Peru I will give all the necessary facilities my email is [removed]
    thanks

  28. 29

    Hi, how are u , i am 29 years of age . i want to sell my kidney.
    A+ blood, never smoke , never drink.
    just serious buyers.
    [contact info removed]

  29. 30

    I want to cell my kidney and I hope you can help me with that. I am 32 years old . Good health, non-smoker , never tryed any drugs. Group of blood B + Citizenship of Estonia ( no visa required to USA or any EU country) . Confidentiality guarantee. Pease call me at any time [phone removed] or write me to email [removed] Probably that can save someones life and my family Get ready to pay for intermediary 15000euro

  30. 31

    Kidney for sale! I am Serious and i don’t need a broker.
    ASAP! Thank You.

  31. 32

    I WANT KIDNEY . [phone number removed].

  32. 36

    hi am more than ready to sell my kidney to any possible buyer at a resonable price ,please contact me trough my mail [email address removed]

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