Travel for transplantation in iran: pros and cons regarding Iranian model.Exp Clin Transplant. 2015 Apr; 13 Suppl 1:90-4.EC
Transplant tourism is one of the main unacceptable aspects of medical tourism, implicating travel to another country to receive an allograft. Organ shortages in wealthier countries have persuaded patients to preclude organ waiting lists and travel to other countries for getting organs especially kidneys. On the other hand, in many countries, there is no transplant program, and hemodialysis is expensive. Hence, patients with end-stage kidney disease may have to travel to get a kidney allograft for the sake of their lives. In Iran, a legal compensated and regulated living unrelated donor kidney transplant program has been adopted since 1988, in which recipients are matched with liveunrelated donors through the Iran Kidney Foundation and the recipients are compensated dually by the government and the recipient. In this model regulations were adopted to prevent transplant tourism: foreigners were not allowed to receive a kidney from Iranian donors or donate a kidney to Iranian patients; however, they could be transplanted from donors of their own nationality, after full medical workup, with the authorization of the Ministry of Health. This was first considered as a humanitarian assistance to patients of the countries with no transplant program and limited and low quality dialysis. However, the policy of "foreign nationality transplant" gradually established a spot where residents of many countries, where living-unrelated donor transplant was illegal, could bring their donors and be transplanted mainly in private hospitals, with high incentives for the transplant teams. By June 2014, six hundred eight foreign nationality kidney transplants were authorized by Ministry of Health for citizens for 17 countries. In this review, we examine the negative aspects of transplant for foreign citizens in Iran and the reasons that changed "travel for transplant" to "transplant tourism " in our country and finally led us to stop the program after more than 10 years.