CNN Special Investigations Unit
According to the World Health Organization, one out of every 10 kidney transplants in the world is done illegally.
Most of the time, that means a living person has been paid to donate a kidney.
Figures are often hard to grasp, but consider this: if the WHO is correct, that means today, in the United States, four people are receiving brand new kidneys that have been purchased from a living donor.
In researching this story, I have found that the buying and selling of kidneys is rampant. And although this may sound extremely cold, it’s so rampant, in fact, that anyone in need of a kidney, on dialysis, or awaiting a crash victim to die so he or she can live, is simply wasting time.
It is illegal to purchase a kidney in the United States, but if estimates are anywhere near accurate, four people today will do just that - navigating the intricacies of fooling a hospital and a surgeon into allowing the surgery to take place.
In the first of our reports tonight you will see the extent of the problem, the ease with which patients and donors can deceive medical authorities and the cold reality that the illegal kidney market is so extensive it may be impossible to stop.
And you may come to find yourself facing the same dilemma as many others: should it be stopped at all? Or should those willing to sell a kidney be allowed to test the market, profit from their own healthy bodies and aid those who are dying to buy?
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
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