March 15, 2007

Iran as Organ Broker

kidneyteheran.jpgThis week at CNE I wrote about organ sales, that perennial theme among us biolibertarians. This time I was inspired by coincidentally reading at the same time about a man who wanted to sell his kidneys to go to the cricket world cup, and a BMJ feature on Iranian organ donation.

The Iranian system is definitely not a free organ market; it is state-controlled and heavily regulated. But at least there is compensation to the donors and the possibility of recipients contributing to it. It is getting there.

Since the rules demand that donor and recipient are of the same nationality it will not open Iran for the accusation that rich westerners go there to buy organs from the local poor (unless of course there is some corruption - Iran is doing pretty badly even by mid east standards). But it seems to be a potential opening for Iran to act as an organ broker for foreigners willing to sell their kidneys to compatriots via Iran. It would probably take a more established stream of medical tourists to make it possible, including the crucial realization that there is profit (and altruistic benefit) in opening up the system. On the other hand, "ethical medical tourists" may well demand more transparency of the system.

Posted by Anders3 at March 15, 2007 03:53 PM