If a decade’s worth of reports in the transplant literature are to be believed, only one country in the world does not suffer from an organ shortage: Iran. Although Iran clearly does not serve as a model for solving most of the world’s problems, its method for solving its organ shortage is well worth examining. Organ donation is ubiquitous throughout the world, but Iran is the only country that legally permits kidney vending, the sale of one individual’s kidney to another suffering from kidney failure.
After a critical examination of what can be learned from the Iranian experience that will help the United States solve its organ shortage, certain conclusions seem inevitable: The portion of the National Organ Transplant Act of 1984 which prohibits the sale of organs should be repealed. The savings that will likely accrue should be spent on long‐term study and maintenance of the vendor system and on the creation of mechanisms to ensure fair trading. Finally, because so much is still unknown regarding how organ sales would work in the United States, individual transplant centers and organ procurement organizations should be permitted to experiment with how to implement a system of organ vending.