Doctors Don't Want You Buying Kidneys Online

from the wonder-why dept

A few years ago, the major connection between the internet and kidneys was that old urban legend that got passed around via email about people waking up with missing kidneys. Now, however, it appears that there’s a (non-mythical) growing controversy about people searching for kidney donors online. Recently, there was a kidney transplant that was negotiated through an online donor matching service, but doctors are getting spooked about the ethics of such a system — worried that people will start offering financial transactions as part of the donor process. However, those who are waiting on exceptionally long lists for a kidney that could save their lives, obviously look at the question in a different light. Either way, it does suggest that the current donor process has some problems and/or inefficiencies if donors and receivers are both migrating to outside systems.

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Comments on “Doctors Don't Want You Buying Kidneys Online”

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Steve Mueller (user link) says:

Ethics, Shmethics

Come on. It’s not like these people are going to back-alley doctors from the Bahamas without medical licenses. Even if the person finds a willing donor, physicians will still need to test for compatibility and do the surgery.

As for the risk that money will change hands, so what? Abortion (by some accounts baby killing) is legal. Parents with a sick child are having children specifically to serve as donors for sick one. Drug companies take samples from patients, create drugs and make lots of money without the patient seeing a dime. Why shouldn’t an organ donor be able to make some money? Yes, I realize that some desperate people might sell their organs, but people sell sperm and blood plasma now.

The worst aspect, as far as I can see, is that “more deserving” recipients might lose out to people paying for organs. I’d hate to see Larry Ellison or Bill Gates get an organ because they could pay that would have otherwise gone to a sick child, but that’s capitalism.

If we don’t want people getting money for saving people’s lives, why should doctors get paid, either?

dorpus says:

Re: Ethics, Shmethics

So you want to make it easier for people claiming to be “doctors” telling people that they found a match? Or for real doctors who are not qualified phrenologists to become kidney traders, Wall Street style? How about some cheap kidneys from China and India, just ignore the coronavirus-induced inflammation….

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Ethics, Shmethics

Actually, when Bill Gates (for example) buys a kidney, he is buying it from someone who would not have otherwise donated it, which means that in buying his kidney, he is not taking the donated kidney, and therefore it will still be available for the person who cannot afford to pay for one.

Buying organs puts MORE of them on the market, and makes things better for everyone. Does Bill get his kidney before the destitute child? Probably, but they both get a kidney, instead of only one of them getting the only one available? And besides, since when has money not bought speed and comfort? And why shouldn?t it? That is what it is for.

wig says:

the problem

the “problem” or “inefficiency” with the current kideny donor system (here in canada at least) is that the rich have to wait in the same line as the poor for a kidney donor. they dont like waiting, so they ‘buy pass'(haha) the system, and pay someone in a third world country 5 grand for their kidney. here we call it ‘transplant tourism.’

whether or not this is ethical is up for debate. personally, as a canadian, i think someone rich who doesnt like waiting for our public health care can renounce their canadian citizenship and move to the states or to one of those third world countries and enjoy the many benefits/shortcomings of a private health care system. they want to live with the benefits of canadian socialist government, without the shortcomings of private healthcare. i say you can’t havee it both ways.

me (profile) says:

Re: the problem

“…i think someone rich who doesnt like waiting for our public health care can renounce their canadian citizenship”

Yeah, they’re already doing that…It’s called the Brain-Drain

“…the benefits of canadian socialist government”

stop…you’re killing seriously…the soviet style hospital “bread lines” are literally KILLING ME!

Greg S says:

net transplants

As someone who has had a kidney transplant, I have a bit more knowledge on this than most. People who wait for a cadaver transplant, as I did, can wait many years, though it’s highly dependent on blood type and state (States that have removed motercycle helmet laws have become better bets if you are waiting for a transplant, for example).

Anyway, there has long been controvery over whether to accept non-family members as donors. With waiting lists getting longer and longer, there is a greater need for live donors. Doctors do psychological tests on all people donating kidneys since they worry about psychological pressure (as well as money). They expect donors to have strong ties to the person needing the kidney. When people find donors over the net, there obviously are no strong ties, and doctors are automatically suspicious of motives. However, they should not automatically assume there’s money involved. Every live donor means another person gets a kidney they ordinarily wouldn’t have gotten through the system.

What really needs to be done is a much better job of getting folks to donate when they die. Everyone should at least be required to say yes or no, and perhaps you should have to have said yes to get a kidney when you need one.

aviator202 says:

Buying kidneys?

Ahhhhhh, folks? There is one itty bitty problem with selling organs. You know those organs you have? You know, your eyes, kidneys, lungs, etc. and all that stuff you are using right now…….and probably want to keep on using? See, if you can’t sell organs under any circumstances, your precious organs are economically worthless. However, if you can now sell an organ, any organ, for a profit……..Guess what happens? All your stuff that is now worthless becomes worth a lot !!!! And like we now have gangs who steal autos….well, your eyes may be their next target. That is why organ sales MUST remain illegal. It protects all of us healthy folks !!!!<br>

Shocked at the stupid says:

Re: Buying kidneys?

That’s the biggest bunch of crap I have ever heard, talk about circular logic.

Scarcity is what makes something worth a lot. Making it legal to buyt and sell organs would in no way create more crime. in fact it would reduce it.

If people could freely buy and sell organs, they would be worth far less, as they would be more readily available. It is the black market buying and selling, because it is illegal, that creates the scarcity, which creates the high value.

Also, who the hell is stealing eyes, and how would making selling organs legal lead to eye theft? What nonsense. Firstly, eyes are needed to see, and it’s pretty fair to say no one is going to be able to walk into a hospital with eyes in a baggies and sell them. Nor would any bio firms be able to buy and sell such organs in such a way.

Sorry, but your reasoning is completely unsound.

Steve Mueller (user link) says:

Organ Gangs

I’ve read Larry Niven’s stories (like “The Defenseless Dead”) that dealt with organ banks, but I still find aviator’s organ gangs a bit of a scare tactic for two reasons.

First, buying stolen merchandise is currently illegal, but people still steal things and sell them. Organs, requiring extreme skill to make use of, are obviously somewhat different, but don’t kid yourself that the laws aren’t circumvented.

Second, if somebody rich was on an organ donation list, what (other than morals) prevents them from hiring a gang who starts killing people with compatible organs? If he doesn’t get the first victim’s organ, he has them kill again until he does get one. He’s not paying directly for the organ, but the effect is the same. Well, actually, it’s worse, because the “donor” is possibly dead and definitely doesn’t get the money for his organ, plus there could be more than one victim.

freddie montana says:

buying kidneys online, etc...

If governments would do their job, (i.e: enforce contracts), then whether a person sell a kidney, or any other body part should be a non issue. Similarily, if they should die from the procedure: well, you get the story…
It plainly states that government’s job is to promote life, liberty, etc: NOT protect it: else they wouldn’t have a military. That is by far the biggest waster of life on the planet…
From the Great Lakes…

Nieuwe Nier NU (user link) says:

The Dutch Kidney Foundation (

The Dutch people doesn’t like to donate organs after death. There is a Minister of Health, named Mr. Ab Klink, who represents this sentiment. He doesn’t want to change the non-donation system in a positive donation system like in Belgium, Spain or Austria, where few organ-needers die.

The consequence of the Dutch non-system is a waiting-list for kidney-demanders from which every year die 200 patients.
It is forbidden for kidney-patients in Holland to get a new kidney outside the waiting-list-system.

Are’nt they organised then? Yes, they are represented by the Nierstichting (Kidney-foundation, yearly income from the charitas 18.000.000 euro).However this foundation spends this money mainly in a for the kidney-patient from today irrelevant way.Such as director’s incomes, luxury-offices,60 expensive websites, long-term projects for mechanical and biological kidney-remplacants etc. This takes at least 15 years.

People from the waiting list in surviving mood try to get “fresh” kidneys from family and friends. And there is a category that flight in the international kidney-commerce, often runned by the organ maffia. “Hey look, I see once more a dead kidney-donor behind the hedge”. By refusing good demand- covering donation systems one promotes the jungle of life and death. And that with a potential of enough donor-organs!

Thank you Nierstichting, thank you minister Ab Klink!
That’s we -Nieuwe Nier NU- fight against.You -the Nierstichting and gouvernment- are the ennemies of the kidney-patient.Which are factual differences between your way of doing and that of islamic terrorists?

Best regards,
Nierpatientencollectief “Nieuwe Nier NU”
See also the YouTube-link in the URL for the protest-song (in dutch)

Dr. Franklin Aaryan says:

Are you seeking for the best hospital to sell one of your kidney, then contact ADITYA BIRLA MEMORIAL HOSPITAL LOCATED IN PUNE, INDIA as we are offering a great amount for A+, B+ AND O+ Kidney Donors IF you are interested quickly contact our surgeon doctor on he’s WhatsApp number: +919791725189 to proceed process and don’t message if you are not serious about selling your kidney.

Dr. Franklin Aaryan

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