According to a February 18th report by IRGC affiliated Fars news agency, “[a] high prevalence of non-communicable diseases and changes of the face of ailments in the country has increased the number of patients who need dialysis or kidney transplant.”

This issue has made kidney transplants from living humans a thriving market. Each year the number of patients who need dialysis increases by approximately 20%. This increased demand has increased prices on legal kidney transplants, driving up black market traffic of kidneys.

Mohammad Aghajani, deputy health minister of Rouhani’s administration, believes the amount of money transferred between the buyer and the seller of kidneys is personal and has nothing to do with the ministry of health.

Aghajani stated, in response to the growing underground transplant market: “Communications between donor and recipient is out of control of the ministry of health, and human, emotional, social and economic issues between two individuals are none of our business and we do not get into people’s private matters.” 

Mostafa Qassemi, chairman of the Association for Support of Kidney Patients, says: “If the ministry of health acts as such and does not do anything about buy and sell of kidneys between individuals, chaos will increase.”

The state-run Fararou website wrote last year: “This is happening at every corner of our country and thousands of people are willing to sell their kidneys to earn some money. Just go to Farhang Hosseini Street in Tehran to see it with your own eyes. According to the chairman of Association for Support of Kidney Patients, some of the kidney sellers of less demanded blood groups like A+ are willing to sell their kidneys for less than $2000 dollars.”

The report continued: “Supplying kidneys from a living person is a model that in recent decades makes the first word. From 2285 kidney transplants in our country, 1690 were provided by living kidney donors. For this reason, kidney supply for transplantation by living donor is known as Iranian model in the whole world.” 

Qassemi responds: “Most of those who sell their kidney are unemployed and the cost of living has put pressure on them to sell their kidney.”