Kidney Sale Illegal, Ad Withdrawn
Buying a human kidney for transplant is not legal in New Zealand, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Health said this afternoon, after discovering a Chinese man offered one of his kidneys for auction on a New Zealand website, with a reserve price of $100,000.
“Someone could pay for the man to come from China and for his accommodation, but they couldn’t pay the $100,000 the man is asking,” said the Ministry of Health spokesman. “I don’t think it’s even legal to advertise a kidney for sale in New Zealand.”
The advertisement, which appeared on wwww.trademe.co.nz, placed by a person identified only as ‘yang’, said:
"I am Chinaman,male,27 years old,very health,blood type:A+.
If I go to New Zealand for the surgery, this price is cluding travelling expenses. This price is excluding medical expenses.
I am serious."
Trade Me became aware of the advertisement this afternoon, and Executive Director Phil McCaw said the advertisement was objectionable and would be withdrawn.
“We are certainly not in the business of promoting that sort of behaviour and will be withdrawing the ad,” he said.
Mr McCaw said the advertisement contravened Trade Me’s terms and conditions.
The terms and conditions say members must not enter listings that are “unlawful, harmful, threatening, abusive, vulgar, obscene, invasive of another's privacy, or otherwise objectionable,” and must not sell things they are “not legally entitled to sell.”
No bids were recorded for the kidney.
The Ministry of Health spokesperson said it is legal to cover for “reasonable costs” to the donor, such as travel and accommodation expenses, but it was not legal to pay for time off work. “That is essentially paying for the donor’s services,” he said.
“It’s all based on philanthropy. It’s very common for a family member to donate an organ,” said the spokesman.
The Ministry of Health spokesperson said he had never heard of another case of someone offering money or an organ in New Zealand, but did know of a Christchurch man who offered to cover for travel expenses to a donor.