Tuesday, February 4, 2014

More on the market for kidneys in Iran

Here's an article on the market for kidneys in Iran that I missed when it came out, recently pointed out to me by Mohammad Akbarpour

Kidney International (2012) 82, 627–634; doi:10.1038/ki.2012.219; published online 6 June 2012

The Iranian model of living renal transplantation

Mitra Mahdavi-Mazdeh1
1Iranian Tissue Bank Research & Preparation Center, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
Correspondence: Mitra Mahdavi-Mazdeh, Iranian Tissue Bank Research & Preparation Center, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran. E-mail: mmahdavi@sina.tums.ac.ir
Received 6 March 2012; Revised 28 March 2012; Accepted 5 April 2012
Advance online publication 6 June 2012


Organ shortage for transplantation remains a worldwide serious problem for kidney patients with end-stage renal failure, and several countries have tried different models to address this issue. Iran has 20 years of experience with one such model that involves the active role of the government and charity foundations. Patients with a desperate demand for a kidney have given rise to a black market of brokers and other forms of organ commercialism only accessible to those with sufficient financial resources. The current Iranian model has enabled most of the Iranian kidney transplant candidates, irrespective of socioeconomic class, to have access to kidney transplantation. The Iranian government has committed a large budget through funding hospital and staff at the Ministry of Health and Medical Education by supporting the brain death donation (BDD) program or redirecting part of the budget of living unrelated renal donation (LURD) to the BDD program. It has been shown that it did not prevent the development and progression of a BDD program. However, the LURD program is characterized by several controversial procedures (e.g., confrontation of donor and recipient at the end of the evaluation procedure along with some financial interactions) that should be ethically reviewed. Operational weaknesses such as the lack of a registration system and long-term follow-up of the donors are identified as the ‘Achilles heel of the model’.

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