KUWAIT CITY, Oct 30: “Why have advertisements for kidney donation increased in Kuwait over the past few years?”, “How is the business of buying and selling kidneys carried out in the country?”, “Why would someone sell his or her kidney?” — These are some of the questions that were directed to several Kuwaiti citizens and expatriates including some brokers involved in the kidney business, in an investigative report.
Adel Al-Enezi, a Kuwaiti citizen, said the business of buying and selling kidneys in Kuwait has increased in the recent years because of the increasing rate of kidney failures among both citizens and expatriates. Bilal Saleh affirmed that advertisements for buying and sell ing kidneys are displayed openly, and that the use of the word ‘donation’ is aimed to disguise the sale aspect in order to avoid the authorities. With firsthand experience in the kidney- selling business, Hazem Abdallah revealed that his brother who used to work in a security company in the country had given his kidney several years ago to a Kuwaiti citizen based on an agreement for payment of KD 5,000.
However, after the kidney transplant operation, the citizen disappeared, paying only KD 150 for the kidney. His brother made futile efforts to find the citizen to whom he sold his kidney in order to receive the remaining amount. Abdullah said, “The citizen had treated my brother very kindly before the surgery due to which my brother was reluctant to ask for the full payment in advance”.
One of the brokers in this field, who lives in Khaitan area and requested anonymity, said the prices of kidneys depend on the donors. For a kidney from an individual with ‘O+’ blood, the price ranges from KD 8,000 to KD 12,000 and the broker receives a commission of KD 1,000.
Expensive He explained that the most expensive kidneys are for children, which costs more than KD 20,000. Therefore, most of the kidney transplant operations for children are done either in India or in some Arab countries.
The broker revealed that the business of kidney buying and selling in Kuwait has increased in the recent years due to increasing number of marginalized laborers who are forced to sell their kidneys to earn money for sustenance.
He explained that there are some who walk around several streets in various parts of the country in search of advertisements for “kidney donations”. When the deal is settled, the seller and buyer agree on the final details such as the cost. Most of the “donors” agree to sell their kidneys after they are convinced that they can live with one kidney. Another broker, who also requested anonymity, indicated that the kidney business varies based on the ‘demandand- supply rate’.
He said, “Five years back, the average price of a kidney was not less than KD 5,000. The kidney of a healthy youth would cost about KD 15,000 while that of an individual above 40 years of age would cost about KD 7,000”.
He added Kuwait’s success in kidney transplant operation has encouraged citizens to undergo kidney transplant operations in the country.
A neurologist and a consultant of brain-related diseases Dr. Ali Al-Huwail explained that the reason behind increasing number of kidney diseases in Kuwait is because of increasing number of diabetes cases, which has reached 20 percent, as well as high blood pressure cases. Both of these cases are caused by obesity and bad eating habits, as well as smoking, hereditary causes and other uncommon elements.
He went on to explain that buying kidney from an individual who sells it for financial purposes is “Haram” and illegal. It can have severe consequences on the buyer as there is no guarantee that the kidney would function normally in his body.
On the other hand, if someone is donating his kidney for humanitarian purposes, some of the Islamic scholars have decreed that it is allowed to offer something in return as a sign of appreciation. However, Dr Al-Huwail indicated that an individual suffering from kidney problems should seek alternative treatments instead of kidney transplants due to the risks involved in such surgeries.
By Najeh Bilal Al-Seyassah Staff