Forum: Turning to black market for organ transplants not worth the risks

During the Covid-19 pandemic, organ trading syndicates had few opportunities to operate, but as borders reopen and it becomes easier to travel to countries where a black market for organs exists, Singaporeans with kidney or liver failure may be tempted to buy an organ for transplant.

The Society of Transplantation (Singapore) is concerned because getting a transplant from the black market is not only illegal but also associated with poor outcomes.

In a local study that compared black market kidney transplants done overseas with kidney transplants performed in Singapore, more patients with black market kidney transplants acquired hepatitis B and C from their kidney donors.

This is not surprising, considering that black market donors are not screened adequately for infections.

Patients may be spending more than $150,000 for an organ that will not last long or will infect them with a virus. Patients would also have no way to hold doctors who perform these black market transplants accountable as they would be out of the reach of the Singapore judiciary.

In view of these concerns, the Society of Transplantation (Singapore) strongly discourages patients with kidney or liver failure from seeking an organ transplant from overseas black markets.

Instead, we urge patients to discuss their transplant options with their doctors and consider undergoing transplantation in Singapore, which has one of the best healthcare systems in the world and produces superior outcomes after transplantation.

We also urge the Singapore community to support both deceased and living organ donation so that Singapore can meet the needs of a growing waiting list of patients needing a kidney or liver transplant.

Finally, the Society of Transplantation (Singapore) would like to remind the community that it is illegal under the Human Organ Transplant Act to be involved in any arrangements carried out in Singapore that will lead to a black market transplant even if it is performed in another country.

Terence Kee (Dr)


Society of Transplantation (Singapore)

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.