Kidneys still for sale

The buying and selling of kidneys, which is unethical and exploitative of the poor, was outlawed in 1994, but still thrives thanks to a built-in loophole in the law. And the easy availability of kidneys for a price has retarded the growth of the cadaveric transplant programme.


S. SUBHASH, 35, and R. Govindan, 37, both from the small town of Pallipalayam in Namakkal district in Tamil Nadu, were deep in debt. Subhash ran up a debt of Rs.35,000 after the tea shop he owned caught fire; Govindan, a powerloom worker, borrowed Rs.45,000 when his daughter was married. With their creditors pressing them to pay up and nowhere to go, each decided – not without reluctance and a feeling that it would all come to no good – to sell an asset he did still possess, a kidney.

Author Profile

Jennifer Lahl, CBC Founder
Jennifer Lahl, CBC Founder
Jennifer Lahl, MA, BSN, RN, is founder and president of The Center for Bioethics and Culture Network. Lahl couples her 25 years of experience as a pediatric critical care nurse, a hospital administrator, and a senior-level nursing manager with a deep passion to speak for those who have no voice. Lahl’s writings have appeared in various publications including Cambridge University Press, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Dallas Morning News, and the American Journal of Bioethics. As a field expert, she is routinely interviewed on radio and television including ABC, CBS, PBS, and NPR. She is also called upon to speak alongside lawmakers and members of the scientific community, even being invited to speak to members of the European Parliament in Brussels to address issues of egg trafficking; she has three times addressed the United Nations during the Commission on the Status of Women on egg and womb trafficking.