Thursday, March 8, 2012

Advertising for a Kidney on

A 28-year-old Florida woman who desperately needed a kidney transplant made a plea last summer on for a person willing to donate one to her, according to an article in USA Today. After the local television channel picked it up as a news story, she received over 800 inquiries and finally found a willing donor who was a good match - a 23-year-old woman who lived nearby. The two women traveled together to the hospital for psychosocial evaluations and medical tests. Eventually the hospital gave its approval, and the donation/transplant was performed in December. Both women are doing well.

Placing an ad on Craigslist or other Web site for a kidney is a bit unusual, but not illegal as long as the donor is not paid for the kidney. The donor’s medical expenses can be paid, but no other compensation is allowed. The reason for the psychosocial evaluations is to ensure that the motivation of the donor is purely altruistic and that he/she knows all of the possible medical and psychosocial risks. 

The only benefit to an altruistic organ donor is the knowledge that they have done something truly selfless for another person. And for a rare few, that apparently is enough. How rare? Less than 2% of all living donors are strangers to the recipient.

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