It is illegal to buy and sell kidneys in the United States. Iran is the only country where kidney sales are legal, states Time. In the United States, participating in the kidney trade, either as a buyer or seller, can result in a five-year prison sentence and fines up to $50,000, as of 2009.Continue Reading
Despite this, illegal organ trafficking accounts for as many as 7,000 transplants and from $514 to $1 billion in annual profits globally, as of 2014, notes CNN. Kidney donors are often impoverished individuals with little information about the dangers of donating. They also often have increased risks for kidney disease and other complications due to poor living conditions.
Patients seeking to purchase kidneys illegally may pay up to $200,000. However, little of the amount paid typically goes to donors, and donors are unlikely to receive follow-up medical attention. Most of the money goes to brokers, surgeons and other middlemen, many of whom officials believe are involved in both financial and violent criminal activity, explains The Guardian.
Hospitals generally scrutinize kidney donors and recipients to screen for illegal transactions and fraud in the United States, according to Time. Once hospitals establish that no money is changing hands, donors typically must meet a variety of health requirements, including compatible blood types. Potential donors with some medical conditions, such as cancer or human immunodeficiency virus, are ineligible to donate.Learn more about Is This Illegal?