A Vital Issue: Sigrid Fry-Revere on Iranian Kidney Markets

Guest: Dr. Sigrid Fry-Revere

If given the option of receiving a medical procedure in the United States or in Iran, which would you choose? Would you believe that it is far easier for Iranians to receive a life-saving kidney transplant than it is for Americans? It’s not a miracle of Iranian technology or medicine that makes this so, but rather the miracle of a functioning market for kidneys – one which Iran allows and supports, albeit in a restricted form. Compensated organ donation (also known to the less squeamish as the sale of body parts) has been a federal offense in the U.S. since the 1980s, shortly after transplants first became viable. Dr. Sigrid Fry-Revere, founder of the Center for Ethical Solutions, began to look more closely at these markets when her own son suddenly needed a transplant. Her work took her to visit six regions in Iran, where she studied how the Iranian regime eliminated the country's kidney shortages more than a decade ago – a change that benefitted both donors and recipients in the process. On this show, Dr. Fry-Revere talks to Bob about her book The Kidney Sellers: A Journey of Discovery in Iran, and her work building a bridge of communication and understanding to the American public and medical ethics community on this issue.