FACTBOX: The who, what, where, and why of organ trafficking

Mon Aug 6, 2007 3:25pm BST

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(Reuters) - Longer life spans and technological advances have spurred a significant global market for trafficked body parts from living donors, says the World Health Organization (WHO). Demand for organ transplants has risen beyond what can be supplied by traditional organ donations.

Here are some facts about organ trafficking and transplantation.

* WHY?

-- Human-to-human transplantation of cell tissue and organs is recognized as the best and often only treatment for end-state organ failure, such as liver and heart failure.

* WHO?

-- The general flow of organs from live donors is from poor, undeveloped countries to rich, developed ones.

-- The majority of transplanted organs come from live, often unrelated donors, rather than using cadaveric organs. In the United States, the number of renal or kidney transplants from live donors exceeded those from deceased donors for the first time in 2001.

* WHAT?

-- Kidney transplants are by far the most frequently carried out, the WHO says. It estimates there about 65,700 kidney transplants, 21,000 liver transplants and 6,000 heart transplants carried out annually.

-- To date, the kidneys, heart, liver, lungs, pancreas and the small bowel can all be transplanted. The first successful kidney transplant was in 1954 and the first heart transplant in 1967.

* HOW MUCH?

-- Commercial living donors, mainly poor and vulnerable individuals in need of money, are thought to supply 10 percent of the world's transplanted kidneys. Here are the WHO's most recent (2003) estimates for the price of one kidney:

- South Africa: $700

- India: $1,000-$1,200

- Manila: $1,200-$2,000

- Moldova: $2,700

- Egypt: $1,700-$2,700

- Turkey: $5,000-$10,000

- Peru: $8,000

- United States: $30,000 and up

* WHERE?

-- Some countries that are well known sources of donors -- such as Brazil, India and Moldova -- have banned buying and selling of organs. Iran is the only country in the world where it is lawful for one citizen to sell an organ to another for transplantation.

Sources: Reuters, World Health Organization, Organs Watch

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