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Solving the Organ Shortage

The book that helped launch the living organ donors rights movement in the United States

All royalties go to support the Center for Ethical Solutions’ SOS (Solving the Organ Shortage) Project.

“Sigrid Fry-Revere has given us an amazing, courageous, provocative, even dangerous look at the complex and generally successful system of selling/donation that has solved the kidney supply problem in Iran .” — Robert Veatch, Ph.D., Professor of Medical Ethics at the Kennedy Institute of Ethics and Fellow of the Hastings Center. 

Sigrid’s journey…reads like a novel blended with a captivating news article that you quite literally cannot put down. …I give the book a very strong five stars.“— Marisa Slusarcyk, Rogue Reviews

“A compelling case for an unorthodox solution to a wide-spread healthcare problem.” — Kirkus Reviews

“In The Kidney Sellers, Fry-Revere shows considerable strengths as a nonfiction writer. She is a keen observer of details in surroundings, events, and people. The reader is caught up in her personal drama of anxieties, impressions, and reactions to events. The history, culture, and current political climate of Iran is interspersed liberally throughout the book so that the reader can better understand why Iranians are motivated to act as they do and why the current kidney donor system was enacted.” — New York Journal of Books

Want to help make a difference!

Sign the petition at to get Congress to take living organ donors’ rights more seriously. (Petition link is near bottom right of home page).

Donate time and/or money to support the American Living Organ Donor Fund which helps living organ donors meet their out-of-pocket expenses.

Speak out about how the U.S. system discriminates against the American poor and blue-collar workers and inadvertently supports the vary exploitative practices it is intended to prevent.


Rarely does an adventure story carry such social significance as in this groundbreaking ethnographic research book. Solving the Organ Shortage
Dr. Fry-Revere’s exploration of the medical ethics of compensating organ donors takes us deep inside Iranian culture to provide insight and understanding into how Iran has solved its kidney shortage.

The Kidney Sellers: A Journey of Discovery in Iran addresses the question: How it is possible that in Iran there is a waiting list to be a donor, while in the United States hundreds of thousands of people have died for lack of a kidney? 



Sometimes the truth lies not in abstract principles but in the stories of the lives affected and lost.
Dr. Sigrid Fry-Reveren the arches of Chubi bridge
Ever since my son had kidney cancer, I’ve wanted to find a solution to the U.S. kidney shortage. As a bioethics professional, the organ shortage has posed intractable problems that raise basic ethical questions.  Nothing in my years of study has come closer to an answer than what I saw in Iran.

Ultimately, people are more alike than we think.

I hope hearing my story and the stories of the people I met in the United States and Iran will humanize the organ shortage. 

How we react to new insights is a telling sign of our most inner character.

I’m sure if you read my book with an open mind and an open heart you will find yourself contemplating things you’ve never thought of before. The story I tell has wide-reaching ramifications for how we understand Iran, the U.S. organ shortage, and the people who sell their kidneys.


Dialysis Patient Hasheminejad Hospt Dialysis Unit (not interviewed) 2Dr. Fry-Revere spent nearly two months visiting six transplant regions in Iran, videotaping hundreds of interviews with donors and recipients and with those who arrange kidney sales.

This book chronicles her personal experience, beginning with her son’s cancer, her research into the suffering of U.S. dialysis patients, and finally to her adventures in Iran.


Center for Ethical Solutions
“THE KIDNEY SELLERS offers an invaluable and hopeful contribution to a long-standing controversy. This book is a must read for anyone who wants to take improving donation rates seriously.”




The Kidney Sellers: A Journey of Discovery in Iran is part of the Center for Ethical Solutions’ Solving The Organ Shortage Program. 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. This book explores how the U.S. has failed its kidney disease patients, while Iran, of all places, may have found a way to save them.

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.