Living unrelated-commercial-kidney transplantation: when there is no chance to survive

Sever M. S.

PEDIATRIC NEPHROLOGY, cilt.21, sa.10, ss.1352-1356, 2006 (SCI İndekslerine Giren Dergi) identifier identifier identifier

  • Yayın Türü: Makale / Editöre Mektup
  • Cilt numarası: 21 Konu: 10
  • Basım Tarihi: 2006
  • Doi Numarası: 10.1007/s00467-006-0185-4
  • Sayfa Sayıları: ss.1352-1356


Transplantation is the best treatment of end-stage renal disease (ESRD); however, organ shortage is a reality. Deceased donor organ donation is inadequate; hence, the number of patients on the waiting lists is increasing progressively. Since many ESRD patients do not have living genetically related donors, living unrelated transplantation is considered. These transplantations offer excellent graft and patient survival rates if practiced in conventional situations, while the results are not so favorable or even poor in unconventional transplantations, which mostly take place in developing countries. Ethical aspects of living unrelated transplantation are more complicated than the medical side due to concern of commercialization. Making payment to the donors has been considered strictly as nonethical by many authors, while some others suggest reopening previous debates for kidney sales. The latter claim that if exploitation of donors is avoided, the reward (or payment) to the donor can be morally justified. Apart from these controversies, it is uniformly accepted that commercial transplantation is certainly unethical when brokers are involved or the aim is just profit for transplant physicians, because the main reason in favor of organ sales is improving the quality of life of the patients and the donors, not the brokers or the physicians. All these theoretical ethical arguments in the Western countries turn out to become vital concerns in developing countries, because transplantation is the cheapest renal replacement therapy. Recently, it has been suggested that organ shortage problems can partly be solved by establishing controlled donor compensation programs in these countries, which may also prevent exploitation of the donors. However, it is impossible to suggest a uniform solution for all countries because of deep differences in economical status as well as social and cultural values. Thus, every country should build its own ethical standards for commercial transplantation.