Organ trading takes place in the Netherlands: Erasmus researchers

At least two people in the Netherlands have admitted paying someone else for a donor kidney while others have travelled abroad for a commercial operation, the Volkskrant reports on Tuesday.

The Volkskrant bases its claims on research by Erasmus teaching hospital in Rotterdam, which estimates the cost of a bought kidney and the necessary operations at €6,000 to €100,000.

The researchers attempted to question all 546 specialists working with kidney patients but just 241 took part. Of them almost half of them were aware of patients who had traveled abroad for an operation. In total, 65 said they suspected a kidney had been bought and 31 are sure this is the case.

Most of the patients are of ‘foreign origin’, and had the operation in their home country or a country they have an ‘affinity’ with, chief researcher Frederike Ambagtsheer told the paper.


Countries which facilitate commercial donations include Pakistan, said by Abagtsheer to be the cheapest, India, Colombia and China. In China the waiting list is shortest because of the use of organs from executed prisoners.

The sale of organs is illegal in every country in the world apart from Iran.

The survey showed 17 healthcare professionals suspect a patient bought a kidney in the Netherlands. Three reported that a donor had been forced to donate a kidney by family or other pressure.

At the end of last year, 735 patients in the Netherlands were waiting for a new kidney, a drop of 14% on a year ago.

This is partly due to an increase in the number of live donors coming forward. Of the 954 transplants carried out in the Netherlands last year, 520 came from a live donor.

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