Kidney trade in Iran

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The practice of selling one's kidney for profit in Iran is legal and regulated by the government. In any given year, it is estimated that 1400 Iranians sell one of their kidneys to a previously unknown recipient.[1] Iran currently is the only country in the world that allows the sale of one's kidney for compensation (typically a payment); consequently, the country does not have either a waiting list or a shortage of available organs.[2][3]



The first kidney transplantation in the Middle Eastern region was conducted in 1967 in Iran. It was not until the mid-1980s that these operations became commonplace. Iran allows for kidney donations from both cadavers and compensated donors. Before the April 2000 law passed by parliament justifying the procurement of organs from those deemed clinically brain-dead, donor compensated transplants represented over 99 percent of cases. It is now estimated that 13 percent of donations come from cadavers.[4]


The Charity Association for the Support of Kidney Patients (CASKP) and the Charity Foundation for Special Diseases (CFSD), under control of the Ministry of Health, regulates the trade of organs with the support of the government. The organizations match donors to recipients, arranging for tests to ensure compatibility. The amounts paid to the donor vary in Iran; however, the average figures are between $2,000 to $4,000 for a kidney donation.[2] In contrast, a compatible kidney sold on the global black-market can cost in excess of $160,000 in some cases.[5]

Islamic views

In 1996, Islamic religious scholars from the Muslim Law Council of Great Britain issued a fatwa allowing for the practice of organ transplants.[6][7] However; as this decree allows for the donation to help save the life of another, it disallows for acts of commerce, trade, or compensation in donations. [8]

Similar Middle-eastern models

In Saudi Arabia, transplants are performed using medicinal cadavers rather than living donors. The practice is sponsored and regulated by the government, through the Saudi Center for Organ Transplantation (SCOT). The organization is also responsible for the standards of care, public and formal education, regulations, and monitoring of all types of organ transplants. Because of the limited number of cadaver candidates, there are not enough donations to satisfy demand.[6]


  1. ^ Sarvestani, Nima (October 31, 2006). "Iran's desperate kidney traders". This World. BBC. Retrieved 12 June 2011. 
  2. ^ a b "Psst, wanna buy a kidney?". Organ transplants. The Economist Newspaper Limited 2011. November 16, 2006. Retrieved 12 June 2011. 
  3. ^ Schall, John A. (May 2008). "A New Outlook on Compensated Kidney Donations". RENALIFE. American Association of Kidney Patients. Retrieved 14 June 2011. 
  4. ^ Einollahi B (April 2008). "Cadaveric kidney transplantation in Iran: behind the Middle Eastern countries?". Iran J Kidney Dis 2 (2): 55–6. PMID 19377209. 
  5. ^ Martinez, Edecio (July 27, 2009). "Black Market Kidneys, $160,000 a Pop". CBS News. Retrieved 12 June 2011. 
  6. ^ a b Al-Khader AA (February 2002). "The Iranian transplant programme: comment from an Islamic perspective". Nephrol. Dial. Transplant. 17 (2): 213–5. doi:10.1093/ndt/17.2.213. PMID 11812868. 
  7. ^ "Organ Donation". UK Transplant. February 2005. Retrieved 14 June 2011. 
  8. ^ "Islam and Organ Donation". NHS Blood and Transplant. Retrieved 14 June 2011. 

See also