Iranian kidney market in limbo: a commentary on "The ambiguous lessons of the Iranian model of paid living kidney donation"

Hojjat Soofi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Sigrid Fry-Revere's The Kidney Sellers: A Journey of Discovery in Iran, an allegedly first-hand examination of the Iranian paid kidney donation model, has been criticized by Koplin in an essay formerly published in the Monash Bioethics Review. Koplin especially challenges Fry-Revere's claim that financially compensating kidney vendors might facilitate altruistic kidney donation. The current situation in Iran, according to Koplin, suggests that the market model has undermined altruistic donation. On this point, this commentary tries to show that healthcare policymakers in Iran no longer see the Iranian paid kidney donation model as a sustainable and ethically justifiable status quo. Briefly touching on the criticisms that have been made even by some positive commentators of the Iranian model, this commentary aims to call attention to the fact that the current dynamic within healthcare policymaking in Iran seeks primarily to decrease its reliance on the organ market instead of revising and modifying it. This complicates the plausibility of any kind of extrapolation, replication or extracting empirical support from the Iranian model to create organ markets in other countries, for example, as Fry-Revere suggests to conduct a trial of a financially incentivized kidney donation scheme in the US. The conclusion is that the Iranian healthcare system should tackle the organ shortage through increasing altruistic living and postmortem kidney donations. This might also provide, finally, a space for conducting extensive and long-term follow-up studies on well-being, satisfaction and social integration of Iranian kidney vendors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)148-151
Number of pages4
JournalMonash Bioethics Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Iran
  • Kidney donation
  • Medical ethics
  • Organ market
  • Organ transplantation


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