Donors advertise online

Some 120,000 Greeks in the final stage of renal failure endure the ordeal of being hooked up to an artificial kidney machine or undergoing peritoneal dialysis at home. Every year that number grows by 400-500. Around 20 percent of them are eligible for a transplant, yet only 850 people are on the waiting list at the National Transplant Organization (EOM). The prospect of waiting so long deters many from going to the bother of putting their name on the list, and they resign themselves to living with dialysis. Whether they are on the list or not, inevitably they get to hear about the solutions that are available abroad. There are stories about India, where gangs exploit people who are desperate enough to sell their kidneys for a pittance. Or there is the Philippines, where the sale of kidneys has almost become an institution. Hundreds of prospective donors advertise online, offering to sell their kidneys. Data from the Final Stage Renal Failure Coordination and Control Service (YSE) show that 100 Greeks have received a kidney transplant abroad from an unrelated living donor since 1994. Of that number, 41 went to India, 33 to the Philippines, four to Pakistan and the remaining 14 to unknown destinations.