Monash Bioethics Review

, Volume 32, Issue 3–4, pp 284–290 | Cite as

The ambiguous lessons of the Iranian model of paid living kidney donation

Fry-Revere, S. (2014). The kidney sellers: a journey of discovery in Iran. (Durham: Carolina Academic Press)
  • Julian J. KoplinEmail author
Review Essay

It is easy to understand why the question of whether or not we should allow the sale of human kidneys has inspired such impassioned debate. With the availability of transplantable kidneys falling short of demand throughout the developed world, financial incentives for living kidney donation are increasingly seen as an attractive means of addressing the organ shortage. However, the question of whether we should allow the sale of human organs remains far from settled. The prospect of organ markets raises a host of difficult questions, some philosophical (would they exploit sellers, or wrongfully commodify the human body?) and others empirical (would markets undermine living-related or deceased donation? Would sellers benefit from the opportunity to sell a kidney, or might they be left worse off in the long term?).

As the only current example of a legal and regulated market in transplantable kidneys, The Islamic Republic of Iran’s paid living-unrelated kidney donation program is deeply...


Organ transplantation Kidney donation Organ markets 


  1. Aramesh, K. 2014. A closer look at the iranian model of kidney transplantation. American Journal of Bioethics 14: 35–37.Google Scholar
  2. Beladi Mousavi, S.S., M.J. Alemzadeh Ansari, A. Parsi, and E. Kiani. 2013. Reasons for renal donation among living unrelated renal donors in Khuzestan Province, southwestern Iran. International Journal of Organ Transplantation Medicine 4: 21–24.Google Scholar
  3. Cherry, M.J. 2008. Embracing the commodification of human organs: Transplantation and the freedom to sell body parts. Saint Louis University Journal of Health Law & Policy 2: 359.Google Scholar
  4. Fallahzadeh, M.K., L. Jafari, J. Roozbeh, N. Singh, H. Shokouh-Amiri, S. Behzadi, G.A. Rais-Jalali, M. Salehipour, S.A. Malekhosseini, and M.M. Sagheb. 2013. Comparison of health status and quality of life of related versus paid unrelated living kidney donors. American Journal of Transplantation 13: 3210–3214.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Fry-Revere, S. 2014. The kidney sellers: A journey of discovery in Iran. Durham: Carolina Academic Press.Google Scholar
  6. Ghods, A.J. 2009. Ethical issues and living unrelated donor kidney transplantation. Iranian Journal of Kidney Diseases 3: 183–191.Google Scholar
  7. Ghods, A.J., and S. Savaj. 2006. Iranian model of paid and regulated living-unrelated kidney donation. Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology 1: 1136–1145.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Ghods, A.J., S. Savaj, and P. Khosravani. 2000. Adverse effects of a controlled living-unrelated donor renal transplant program on living-related and cadaveric kidney donation. Transplantation Proceedings 32: 541.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Heidary Rouchi, A., M. Mahdavi-Mazdeh, and M. Zamyadi. 2009. Compensated living kidney donation in Iran: Donor’s attitude and short-term follow-up. Iranian Journal of Kidney Diseases 3: 34–39.Google Scholar
  10. Kazemeyni, S.M., and M. Aghighi. 2012. Organ procurement from deceased donors and its impact on organ transplantation in Iran during the first ten years of cadaveric transplantation. International Journal of Organ Transplantation Medicine 3: 125–129.Google Scholar
  11. Koplin, J. 2014. Response to open peer commentaries on “assessing the likely harms to kidney vendors in regulated organ markets”. American Journal of Bioethics 14: W1–W3.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Mahdavi-Mazdeh, M. 2012. The Iranian model of living renal transplantation. Kidney International 82: 627–634.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Malakoutian, T., M.S. Hakemi, A.A. Nassiri, M. Rambod, A.N. Haghighi, B. Broumand, and I. Fazel. 2007. Socioeconomic status of Iranian living unrelated kidney donors: A multicenter study. Transplantation Proceedings 39: 824–825.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Nejatisafa, A.-A., S. Mortaz-Hedjri, T. Malakoutian, M. Arbabi, M.S. Hakemi, A.N. Haghighi, M.R. Mohammadi, and I. Fazel. 2008. Quality of life and life events of living unrelated kidney donors in Iran: A multicenter study. Transplantation 86: 937–940.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Pajouhi, A., F. Zahedi, Z. Pajouhi, and B. Larijani. 2014. Paid living kidney transplantation in Iran: Rethinking the challenges. American Journal of Bioethics 14: 40–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Shaw, R.M., and Bell, L.J.M. 2014. “Because you can’t live on love”: Living kidney donors’ perspectives on compensation and payment for organ donation. Health Expectations (in press). doi: 10.1111/hex.12310.
  17. Sickand, M., M.S. Cuerdn, S.W. Klarenbach, A.O. Ojo, C.R. Parikh, N. Boudville, and A.X. Garg. 2009. Reimbursing live organ donors for incurred non-medical expenses: A global perspective on policies and programs. American Journal of Transplantation 9: 2825–2836.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Steering Committee of the Istanbul Summit. 2008. The declaration of Istanbul on organ trafficking and transplant tourism. Lancet 372: 5–6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Tober, D.M. 2007. Kidneys and controversies in the Islamic Republic of Iran: The case of organ sale. Body & Society 13: 151–170.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Zargooshi, J. 2001a. Iranian kidney donors: Motivations and relations with recipients. The Journal of Urology 165: 386–392.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Zargooshi, J. 2001b. Quality of life of Iranian kidney “donors”. The Journal of Urology 166: 1790–1799.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Monash University 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Human BioethicsMonash UniversityRingwoodAustralia

Personalised recommendations