This article is from the Organ Transplant FAQ, by email@example.com (Michael Holloway) with numerous contributions by others.
In all the time that the rumors of a black market, kidnapping and
murder of children, organ-swiping, and other atrocities have been
circulating (since at least 1982 when cyclosporin began to be widely
used), there has never been any evidence to substantiate any of
Any rumor regarding a black market in organs, or organ piracy, needs
to be evaluated in light of the necessity of matching the organ and
recipient in order to avoid rejection by the recipient's immune
system. One can not take any old organ and just put it anywhere
you please. A rather complex system has been set up in the US to
handle matching and distribution. Its unlikely that any number of
evil people in the US or abroad will be able to duplicate such a
system in secret. Adding these simple facts with the necessity of
having many highly skilled medical professionals involved, along
with modern medical facilities and support, makes it plain why
rumors of the involvement of murder, violence and organized crime in
organ procurement can not be given any credence.
These stories have done great damage to the public's appreciation of
the need for organ donation.
Within the last several years, human rights organizations have
started to pick up and spread black market myths. They seem to have
confused unethical practices abroad which have been known and
protested for years (India's payment system for live kidney donation
and China's use of organs from executed convicts) with implausible
stories of secret organ swiping mafias. Their reliance on
ill-informed sources of information has damaged appreciation for
real human rights and ethics problems related to transplantation in
Asia and developing countries.
For reference see:
"THE CHILD ORGAN TRAFFICKING RUMOR: A MODERN `URBAN LEGEND'"
A REPORT SUBMITTED TO THE UNITED NATIONS SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR ON THE
SALE OF CHILDREN, CHILD PROSTITUTION, AND CHILD PORNOGRAPHY BY THE
UNITED STATES INFORMATION AGENCY, by Todd Leventhal, USIA Senior
Debunking the Kidney Heist Hoax
The New Orleans Police Department has put their Official Statement
regarding the persistant urban legend of kidney snatching.