Purpose: The motivations of Iranian kidney donors and donor-recipient relationships are clarified.
Materials and methods: A 13-page 69-item questionnaire was completed by 100 donors and interviews were videotaped.
Results: Of the donors 90% did not knew the recipients preoperatively and only 13% had any information on recipient fate postoperatively. In 87% of cases there was no postoperative relationship. Because of recipient failure to appreciate the donors and refusal to realize preoperative promises 51% of donors hated the recipients and 82% were unsatisfied with their behavior. Motivations for donating were purely financial in 43% of cases and mainly financial with a minor altruistic component in another 40%. Of the donors 76% agreed that kidney sale should be banned and if there was another chance they would prefer to beg (39%) or obtain a loan from usurers (60%) instead of vending a kidney. All 6 related donors were paid. The goals of vending were achieved not at all by 75% of donors.
Conclusions: None of the donors studied fulfilled the criteria of compensated donation or donation with an incentive and 97% were vendors. All evidence shows that the donor-recipient relationship in Iran is pathological with no similarity to the emotionally related category of transplantation. Reports by the reformist Iranian press, which have all been banned, show that our sample is a good representative of other Iranian donors. Almost none of the criteria of an acceptable living unrelated renal donor transplant program is met in Iran. The opinion of kidney donors should be regarded as the final arbiter when labeling the act as a sale or donation and it should be considered in discussions of living unrelated donor transplantation.