Kidney for sale
photo by Francesco Alesi


Ghaffar Naghdi is a young Iranian man, aged 24. On his body, he bears the marks of six years of kidney failure that forced him to three dialysis sessions per week.


The sale of kidneys occurs through ads left by the young vendors on the walls of the hospitals where the transplants take place, or else through newspaper advertisements. The ads highlight the blood group and the telephone number of the seller. Often other details are given, such as age, good health and the negotiability of the price.


Ghaffar and his family meet Narin a few days before the transplant. Ghaffar’s family sold their land to buy a kidney from Narin for € 4,600.


Ghaffar in his hospital room a few days after the kidney transplant, which was performed after 6 years of dialysis therapy.


Ghaffar and his family around the fireplace a few days before the transplant. Ghaffar’s family had to sell all their lands to buy the kidney.


Ghaffar is about to leave his home for the hospital where he will be transplanted the kidney.


The price of a kidney can vary between two and five thousand euro depending on changes in supply and demand. In periods of high unemployment, like the current one due to the collapse in oil prices, the valuation falls due to the increased number of people willing to forego a kidney.


A few days after the kidney transplant with Ghaffar, Narin was admitted for the last medical checks. By selling his kidney to Ghaffar, she will finally be able to leave her parents’ house and move in with her husband in the hope of finding a job before running out of money.


Ghaffar leaves the operating room on a stretcher after being implanted Narin’s kidney, which he has bought for € 4,600.


Hasan-Ali Alidadi, aged 63, stretches out his hand towards the bed of Ghaffar. Hasan-Ali is a diabetic ice cream vendor who has just been implanted a kidney from Reza Torfi, aged 30, who received € 4,600 for selling his kidney. Hasan dialysed for 20 years before deciding to buy a kidney.


Ghaffar leaves the operating room where he has just been implanted Narin’s kidney.


Narin, walking in the hallway of the hospital where two days earlier she was removed a kidney. Narin is a fictional name. Besides her and her husband, no other members of her family know of her decision to sell her organ.


Ghaffar, two days after the kidney transplant. He will have to remain under observation in hospital for 15 days. Ghaffar is one of about 1,400 Iranians who, in 2014, was transplanted a kidney purchased from a living person.


Ghaffar’s roommate shows the scar from the operation to remove the kidney he has sold.


Ghaffar and Narin, in the corridor of the hospital after the transplant. Narin will be discharged three days after the surgery. Ghaffar will die three weeks later because of rejection.