Commercial Trade of Human Organs

The commercial trade of human organs, also called transplant commercialism, is a policy or practice in which an organ is treated as a commodity, including by being bought or sold or used for material gain. The commercial trade of human organs is illegal in most countries and its practice exposes donors and recipients to unnecessary dangers.

The Kidney Foundation of Canada condemns the practice of buying and selling organs for transplantation and does not support:

  • Economic incentives to individuals to donate an organ for transplantation (however, this does not preclude the reimbursement of reasonable expenses incurred by a donor during the donation process)

  • Advertisement of organs for sale

  • Brokering the movement of organs, donors, recipients or transplant professionals for the purpose of organ trafficking, transplant commercialism or transplant tourism, as defined in The Declaration of Istanbul on Organ Trafficking and Transplant Tourism, 2008

  • Use of organs suspected to have been obtained through commercial transaction

More than 80 international professional societies and governmental agencies, including The Kidney Foundation of Canada, have endorsed The Declaration of Istanbul, a policy document designed to promote both deceased and living donor transplantation around the world in a manner that protects the health and welfare of both recipients and donors while ending exploitation. 

The Declaration of Istanbul recently celebrated its 5th Anniversary. For more information read A Celebration of the Doha Accord and 5th Anniversary of the Declaration of Istanbul, in the newsletter from The Transplantation Society.

For more information on transplant commercialism, organ trafficking and transplant tourism:



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