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Last Updated: Monday, 8 January 2007, 11:18 GMT
Experts warn against organ trade
Body for sale
Experts are warning people against selling their organs
A transplant surgeon has warned against selling body parts, after a report suggested organs are for sale online.

The Sun newspaper claims people are selling organs such as kidneys, parts of their liver, and the corneas from their eyes, online to raise money.

Although there is a shortage of organs available for transplantation, the sale of organs in the UK is illegal.

Mr Keith Rigg condemned the practice and warned of a definite risk of death for transplant donors.

I know there are people advertising their organs for sale online
Keith Rigg

Mr Rigg, a consultant transplant surgeon at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, said: "I know there are people advertising their organs for sale online, but in this country it is illegal."

He said some patients had travelled abroad, such as to Pakistan or China to buy organs, but in those cases the purchases had been made over the internet but through previous connections.

Spare kidneys
Donating organs such as kidneys is a potentially fatal procedure


He also warned of the potential dangers involved for donors.

In the UK there is a one in 3,000 chance of a person donating a kidney dying after the operation, and a one in 200 chance after donating a section of liver.

He said the sale of corneas, which would blind donors in the eye from which the cornea was taken showed the lengths that some people were prepared to go to for money.

He also warned that other complications could occur after donations keeping people in hospital for longer, and that this occurred in about 20-25 % of cases of liver donations.

He said: "We would not support anyone doing this although we do recognise that there is a shortage of organs [in the UK]."

He said the trade could be fuelled by the large number of people waiting for organ donations in the UK.

Organs from 764 people who died were used in 2,195 transplants
1,914 patients received a kidney transplant, 31% of which came from a friend or relative
610 patients received a liver transplant
At the end of the year 6,698 patients were listed as actively waiting for a transplant
At the end of the year 13,122,056 people were registered on the NHS Organ Donor Register


The British Transplantation Society said it considered donation of organs for any kind of personal gain to be unethical.

Mr John Forsythe, BTS president, said: "We would completely condemn the sale of organs."

He said in all cases of live donation, they would try to ensure no coercion was involved at all, and that the selling of organs, often by people in desperate need of money would be "abhorrent" to many people.


The Sun newspaper claims though that an undercover reporter met Umer Maqbool, a 24-year-old waiter who had advertised his organs online.

Mr Maqbool apparently told the reporter he wanted money to buy a house for his family in Pakistan and to start a business.

He said: "I'm ready to sell my kidney, a section of liver and maybe after three months do the cornea in my eye.

"I'm ready to do it today. I want 100,000 for all three."

China denies death-row organ sale
28 Sep 06 |  Asia-Pacific

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