Transplant Trial Watch

Why do people sell their kidneys? A thematic synthesis of qualitative evidence.

Shrestha, B., et al.

PLOS Global Public Health 2024; 4(3): e0003015.

The aim of this study was to explore the factors influencing kidney selling around the globe.

Three electronic databases, including MEDLINE (PubMed), Scopus (Elsevier), and JSTOR, were searched for relevant literature. Titles and abstracts were screened independently by two reviewers. The methodological quality of the included studies was assessed using the Consolidated Criteria for Reporting Qualitative Research (COREQ).

15 studies were included in the review.

Factors that contribute to the selling of kidneys.


CET Conclusions
This is an interesting paper that examined the driving factors of kidney selling. A total of 15 studies were included, most of which were interviews. The authors used a thematic approach to analyse the various determinants of kidney selling, beginning from the individual level to the macro-social level. The most significant determinants identified were poverty and illiteracy at the individual level; and pressure to conform to societal expectations, influence of brokers, loopholes in the legal system and absence of stringent policies at the macro-social level. Although the driving factors in high income countries were explored to a lesser extent in this review as compared to low- and middle-income countries, the underlying reasons for kidney selling were found to be similar across the globe. Owing to the qualitative nature of this review, it is difficult to assess the relative impact of each of the involving factors on kidney selling compared to others.

Trial registration
PROSPERO - CRD42020197541

Funding source
No funding received