Doctor: Beware of online organ trade

January 8, 2007

A British transplant surgeon warned against people selling organs over the Internet, following a published report that online organ trading was occurring.

"People are so desperate that there is a market for it," Keith Rigg, of the British Transplant Society, told Sky News Monday. "I'm aware there are Internet sites where people are putting organs up for sale. We would condemn it."

It is illegal to trade in body parts in Britain but an online market has developed because of the lack of legal organ donations, officials said.

A reporter from the Sun went undercover to meet with a waiter willing to sell his kidney, a liver section and possibly a cornea for about $194,000, the newspaper reported. The man apparently told the reporter he wanted the money to buy a house for his family in Pakistan and to start a business.

About 7,000 people in Britain are on organ transplant waiting lists. Health officials said just less than 3,000 successful operations were performed in 2006.

More than 13 million people are organ donors, officials said.

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

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