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Wednesday, November 15th 2006

Kidneys For Sale

Going Under The Knife For Beer Money…
…At Least That’s Why I Would Do It

The BBC ran a special report a while back on the selling of kidneys in Iran. Perhaps the country should be spending more on social welfare programs than nuclear power if its citizens truly need the money this badly.

On streets and in town squares in Iran, young men and women can be seen holding signs offering their kidneys for sale.

Every year, 1,400 Iranians sell one of their kidneys to a stranger.

At the Tehran branch of the Association of Kidney Patients, one of many agencies set up to facilitate the trade, the reception is full of people.

In the narrow, drab corridors, people are waiting in line, either to fill in forms, answer questions, undergo tests or be X-rayed, and finally to be operated on.

Even The Diseased Kidney Is Worth Something!

Although, apparently not much. The BBC story goes quickly into one man’s experience trying to sell a kidney,

Desperate, he decided he would sell a kidney, hoping to receive around $7,500 (£4,000) for it.

At the clinic Mehrdad was told that the number of sellers had increased so drastically over the past year that prices had plummeted, and unfortunately for him he is blood type A, one of the most common… driving the price even lower.

He was told the most he could expect was $3,700 (£2,000).

When Mehrdad returned to the clinic for his final batch of tests, he was told they had found a match for his kidney.

Twenty-two year-old Shiva had already gone through one transplant operation but her body had rejected it and it had stopped functioning after two years.

Her father was still paying the debt from the first transplant.

After much haggling Mehrdad and Shiva settled on a fee.

The state was to pay Mehrdad $1,250 (£650) and Shiva’s family had agreed to pay him another $3,000 (£1,600).

It was less than he had hoped, but enough to help him clear his debts.

The ethical debate on selling organs isn’t as cut and dry as the law makes it out to be. Personally, I have mixed feelings about the issue. You can go here to read more on it.