How Much Would You Sell a Kidney For? Seriously, Name your Price

by Darwin on January 27, 2013

I read the occasional story about someone selling a kidney for what amounts to a few hundred dollars or less in emerging markets and it begs the question as to what a fair price is for a kidney for an individual.  Circumstances vary, but people donate kidneys to loved ones and even strangers all the time.  Oddly, in the US at least, donating an organ (or listing yourself as an organ donor in the event of your death) does not actually give you any special prioritization in the event you ever needed an organ donation yourself (I believe it should since it would increase participation and actual transplants significantly).  So, from a personal risk standpoint, if Americans are willing to give away a kidney to save someone’s life, might they not also consider selling one?

There’s a recent story about a Chinese student who sold his kidney for an iPad.  Clearly, that doesn’t seem like a very good move.  Primarily, because it’s not a lot of money, even in China, not to mention that the downstream transaction went for over $33,000 by the time it reached the patient.  Additionally, within the few short months since the story broke, an iPad is not big deal anymore and in a few years, that iPad will be completely obsolete and he will have traded a valuable organ for a tech toy.  However, everyone’s circumstances are different.

In America, there are about 17,000 kidney transplants a year, with ~6,000 coming from live donors (cadavers accounted for the rest).  That’s 6000 Americans who voluntarily gave up a kidney, so clearly there’s a market.

If you considered the following things, how much would you sell your kidney for?

  • You Have 2 :>
  • Donation usually does not change your lifestyle or affect life expectancy, no impact to having children, etc.
  • Americans do it all the time, safely
  • You’d be saving someone’s life
  • If your remaining kidney started failing, you’d have a chance to get a new one yourself under our organ donation program
  • Everyone has their price.  Think about it for a minute and tell me you’d really turn down any and all amounts…

What’s your price?  $100,000? $1 Million? $10 Million?

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