Cash for kidneys: right or wrong?
Crispin Hiley and coauthors look at some of the key arguments surrounding the legalisation of organ sales
- By: Robert P Jones, Crispin T Hiley, R W G Johnson
Fifty years have elapsed since Dr Joseph Murray completed the first successful kidney transplant1 Advances in immunosuppression and surgical technique have allowed many people with end stage renal disease to enjoy a vastly improved quality and quantity of life with a renal transplant. However, problems do exist, and in the United Kingdom only a third of those on the waiting lists received a kidney transplant in 2003.2
The United States, China, India, and Brazil perform the largest number of transplants each year, despite having widely different healthcare systems. What they all have in common is that waiting lists continue to grow. Consequently, specialists are looking for ways of increasing the number of available organs. Alternative approaches such as xenotransplantation are being investigated, but they will increase the supply only some time in the future.
The only way to increase the number of organs available now is to increase the number