Kidney Transplant 'Tourism' Comes With Risks

WebMD | Amy Norton, HealthDay

Infections, complications, organ rejection more likely than in patients who get organ in own country

FRIDAY, Nov. 6, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- When people languish on a wait-list for a kidney transplant, they may start to consider a desperate measure: Traveling to a country where they can buy a donor kidney on the black market.

But beyond the legal and ethical pitfalls, experts say, the health risks are not worth it.

Most countries ban the practice, sometimes called "transplant tourism," and it has been widely condemned on ethical grounds. Now a new study highlights another issue: People who buy a donor kidney simply do not fare as well.

Researchers in Bahrain found that people who traveled abroad to buy a kidney -- to countries like the Philippines, India, Pakistan and Iran -- sometimes developed serious infections.

Those infections included the liver diseases hepatitis B and C, as well as cytomegalovirus, which can be life-threatening to transplant recipients, the investigators said.

In addition, people who bought donor kidneys also faced higher rates of surgical complications and organ rejection, versus those who received a legal transplant in their home country.

Dr. Amgad El Agroudy, of Arabian Gulf University, was to present the findings Friday at the annual meeting of the American Society of Nephrology (ASN), in San Diego. Continue reading