Lifestyle & Belief

WHO report claims an illegal organ is sold every hour


The World Health Organization estimates there are over 10,000 illegal transplants each year.


Jeff Pachoud

The World Health Organization estimates nearly 10,000 illegal kidney transplants occur across the globe each year. 

WHO collected worldwide data from their network of doctors which showed that traffickers are cashing in on rising international demand for replacement kidneys driven by the increase in diabetes and other diseases, according to the Guardian.

The Guardian also explained many patients will head to China, India or Pakistan for surgery and can pay up to $200,000 for a kidney to gangs who harvest organs from desperate people for as little as $5,000. 

The New York Post noted one advertisement in China looking for a kidney that read, "Donate a kidney, buy the new iPad!" The broker was offering $3,920 per kidney.

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Luc Noel, a doctor and WHO official who runs a unit monitoring trends in legitimate and underground donations and transplants of human organs, said illegal organ trading had been falling before 2010. However,  "The trade may well be increasing again," Noel added. 

"There have been recent signs that that may well be the case. There is a growing need for transplants and big profits to be made. It's ever growing, it's a constant struggle. The stakes are so big, the profit that can be made so huge, that the temptation is out there," Noel told the Guardian. 

The WHO study also noted several countries have begun to regulate their organ trade. "The Islamic Republic of Iran merits a special mention: paid kidney donation is practiced legally but there is a strict regulation of the allocation of organs to non-local citizens, thereby restricting the international organ trade."

The paper also said the the Philippine government is moving towards institutionalization of paid kidney donation and acceptance of foreign patients.

"The people who gain are the rich transplant patients who can afford to buy a kidney, the doctors and hospital administrators, and the middlemen, the traffickers. It's absolutely wrong, morally wrong," Jim Feehally, a professor at University Hospitals of Leicester NHS trust, told the New York Post. 

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