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Paid Living Donation and Growth of Deceased Donor Programs

Ghahramani, Nasrollah MD

doi: 10.1097/TP.0000000000001164
In View: Around the World

Limited organ availability in all countries has stimulated discussion about incentives to increase donation. Since 1988, Iran has operated the only government-sponsored paid living donor (LD) kidney transplant program. This article reviews aspects of the Living Unrelated Donor program and development of deceased donation in Iran. Available evidence indicates that in the partially regulated Iranian Model, the direct negotiation between donors and recipients fosters direct monetary relationship with no safeguards against mutual exploitation. Brokers, the black market and transplant tourism exist, and the waiting list has not been eliminated. Through comparison between the large deceased donor program in Shiraz and other centers in Iran, this article explores the association between paid donation and the development of a deceased donor program. Shiraz progressively eliminated paid donor transplants such that by 2011, 85% of kidney transplants in Shiraz compared with 27% across the rest of Iran's other centers were from deceased donors. Among 26 centers, Shiraz undertakes the largest number of deceased donor kidney transplants, most liver transplants, and all pancreas transplants. In conclusion, although many patients with end stage renal disease have received transplants through the paid living donation, the Iranian Model now has serious flaws and is potentially inhibiting substantial growth in deceased donor organ transplants in Iran.

1 Division of Nephrology, Department of Medicine, Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, Penn State Hershey Medical Center, Hershey, PA.

Received 19 August 2015. Revision 25 January 2016.

Accepted 27 January 2016.

The author declares no funding or conflicts of interest.

N.G. is the sole author of the article. He has reviewed the literature, analyzed, and interpreted the data and drafted the article.

Correspondence: Nasrollah Ghahramani, MD, MS, FACP, Penn State College of Medicine, Mail Code H040, 500 University Drive, Hershey, PA 17033. (

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