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petition-buttonPetition to Introduce and Pass The “Stop Trafficking in Organ Procurement and Transplant Improvement Act of 2014” (SOTN Act), or similar bill, in

It’s tragic! Almost 30 Americans die every day waiting in vain for an organ, usually a kidney, which rarely arrives in time because there is a huge shortage of viable organs from deceased donors. We want to initiate change so more Americans can be saved.  Furthermore, Americans should be helping Americans and not resorting to illegal organ trafficking abroad to try to save their lives.  To learn how you can help and to sign our petition, see Stop Organ Trafficking Now!


Sigrid’s book The Kidney Sellers: A Journey of Discovery in Iran is the book that launched the living organ donors rights movement in the United States. see or click on “The Kidney Sellers” on the project tab in the menu bar above.

We have made great strides in the Organ Procurement Around the World Project. A report is due out early 2014.

Click here for a fact sheet for information about kidney disease and efforts to solve the organ shortage problem. In the United States, 18 people die every day waiting for an organ donation that never comes. In 2010 alone, over 9,000 patients died or became too ill to undergo surgery while waiting.

The sad fact is, this is how 1 out of every 5 people is removed from the 110,000-person U.S. Transplant Waiting List. Almost 90% of these people were in need of organs that could have been donated by living donors with relative safety. The overwhelming majority were waiting for kidney

transplants — the modern surgical procedure for which involves an average hospital stay of 3-days for the living donor.

The Center for Ethical Solutions has two SOS projects underway.  We recently completed a YouTube video about life on dialysis — “As Time Runs Out: The Steve Lessin Story” (link below).  We are also working on a project that involves a report about worldwide organ procurement schemes that will serve as a quick reference for comparing how different countries deal with the ever growing world wide need for organs for transplantation.

Read more about each project below or click on any of the following headings to jump to each of their pages:   As Time Runs Out Documentary, Organ Procurement Around the World.

As Time Runs Out:

The Steve Lessin Story An Ethnographic Documentary about life on dialysis and the kidney transplant waiting list.  See our 10 minute preview video

of the documentary in progress.

Click here to learn about Steve and his life waiting for a kidney that never comes.
Even if every American signed an organ donor card, there’d still be a kidney shortage. 2,000,000 Americans die per year, but most are too old, sick, or dead too long before reaching the hospital to allow organ removal. Only 10,500 to 13,000 Americans die under conditions that would allow organ donation to save or improve the lives of the 90,000 or more Americans who suffer from kidney failure every year.  Donor cards are for deceased donation and most people die under circumstances that make their organs unusable for transplant –people who die of cancer or of other diseases that affect major organs, or simply of old age, can’t be donors after they die even if they want to. Generally, only organs from reasonably young, healthy people who die in traumatic accidents that render them brain dead, but with their other vital organs intact, can qualify as organ donors. There are approximately 12,000 viable deceased organ donors a year, less than 1 percent of those who die annually, and these not nearly enough to meet the need of the 87,000 American’s waiting for kidneys. As baby-boomers age, the shortage is only going to get worse. By some estimates, in 2010 there will be a ten-year wait time for kidneys, twice the average of today, and longer than most people, like Steve, are able to survive on dialysis.

At the end of last year, the American Medical Association proposed a pilot project for paying donors (and/or their families) to agree to deceased organ donation and just this February, the National Kidney Foundation announced its “End the Wait” initiative in which they encourage an aggressive look at alternatives to the existing system of kidney allocation and procurement in the United States.

The Organ Procurement Around The World Project will help us gain insight into how the rest of the world is dealing with this problem. In the U.S. the average survival rate on dialysis is only four years; not a good statistic given the average wait for a kidney is nearly five years.  Also, life on dialysis is no walk in the park.  It is very difficult to lead a productive life while on dialysis.  Fewer than 15% of people on dialysis feel well enough to work. On average their schedules are interrupted three times a week by 3-4 hour long dialysis treatments; they suffer uncomfortable thirst, fluid retention, strict dietary restrictions, stiffness, headaches, stomach upset, and with time almost always develop heart conditions.

Project Details

The Center for Ethical Solutions commenced the “Solving the Organ Shortage” project by interviewing dialasis patients in the United States.



Organ Procurement Around the World 

The Center is creating a report to study different schemes from countries around the world about how each country allocates organs to patients in need.

The report will try to touch on the following types of issues for each country:

  • Some sense of history of kidney disease in the country, including how the country has dealt with it (timeline, commencement of dialysis and renal transplant programs, types of dialysis/procedures done, how many units/centers, level of technology, etc.).
  • Relevant laws and/or policies in the country of interest relating to kidney disease (subsidies for dialysis and transplant; official or unofficial incentive programs for both living and deceased donors, especially if involving financial payment; legality of organ commoditization, etc.) Is there a specific body of law, statutes, etc. governing organ transplantation? Any punishments? Are these laws enforced?
  • A snapshot of the country’s current organ procurement system and whether there are any proposed changes being contemplated to it. Also, who are the policy/decisionmakers in the country regarding transplant – is there an organ procurement agency, how much authority is wielded by the medical society? If possible, include contact information for these authorities.
  • Related to the above, try to find the sources for transplanted organs – in country, out of country, living related, living unrelated, deceased. Are most of the country’s citizens transplanted in country, or do they go abroad? If they go abroad, does their government pay for it?

This information will be made available to the public on our website by the end of 2012.

The Center for Ethical Solutions is a non-partisan, non-profit, 501(c)(3), tax-exempt charity dedicated to educating the public on patient-care issues in medicine. The Center's financial statement (990EZ IRS annual tax filling) is available upon written request from the Center or from the Commonwealth of Virginia Office of Consumer Affairs.