Oz kidney buyers giving China’s ‘transplant tourism’ a boost

February 6th, 2011 - 3:56 pm ICT by ANI  

Sydney, Feb 6 (ANI): Sick Australians are now buying kidneys from dead people in developing countries with just a click of a mouse and as little as 15,000 dollars.

According to Kidney Health Australia, some patients are travelling to China and the Philippines to buy kidneys from dead donors, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.

The practice, known as ‘transplant tourism’, is attracting more interest as desperate people struggle to find alternatives to the national donor registry.

The average wait is four years, which many of them do not have.

Some academics, including Jeremy Shearmur from the Australian National University, believe the government should encourage the practice of buying organs from ‘healthy, voluntary live donors from poorer countries’.

Shearmur said Australia is lacking in suitable organs, particularly kidneys, which need to be harvested immediately after death.

Kidney Health Australia chief executive Anne Wilson condemned the international trade in body parts but said people in desperate situations should not be judged too harshly.

“If you had the financial capacity to save your life or the life of your child I challenge you to say you would not try to do that,” she said.

Transplant Australia CEO Chris Thomas said transplant tourism preyed on some of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people.

“There are also health risks for people who venture into transplant tourism. They can pick up a diseased kidney that contains cancer cells. That’s why we need to support Australia’s system of organ and tissue donation because we’ve got the best transplant services in the world. We just need more Australians to believe in it,” he added.

Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for the Australian Organ and Tissue Authority said the government had no intention of re-examining its opposition to commercialised organ transplantation. (ANI)

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