It’s either a cruel hoax or someone from Olds is really trying to sell a kidney. Either way, it’s illegal.
Someone listed a kidney for sale on an online classified advertising website on Wednesday.
The ad reads: “For sale by owner, selling one kidney, not stolen, A+ blood type, $15,000 plus all associated surgery costs.” Included is a photo depiction of a kidney.
By mid afternoon, the ad had about 170 visits.
Selling organs in Canada is illegal, said Flavia Robles, executive director of the Northern Alberta and Territories branch of the Kidney Foundation of Canada. The branch looks after the Red Deer area.
“We don’t condone that type of advertising, or having that sense of false hope for anyone. We definitely do not participate or support that in any way.”
According to the foundation, more than 500 Albertans are waiting for a kidney transplant. In Canada, more than 4,500 people are waiting for some kind of transplant, and of those, 75 per cent are waiting for a kidney, said Robles.
The average wait list time for a deceased donor kidney is four years, which is unacceptable, she said. Alberta stands about third on the list in terms of length of time with Saskatchewan’s two-year wait time being the shortest in Canada.
Robles said sadly, Alberta is among the bottom three for the number of organ donations.
The Kidney Foundation reimburses living kidney, lung and liver organ donors for the expenses they would incur if they donated a kidney. Those expenses could include things like wage replacement, travel, accommodations, meals and parking. And they will also cover a travel companion if needed.
“I call them super heroes. They really are. They give the gift of life,” Robles said.
To be a living donor, there are checks and balances in place so that the donor is not at risk, she said.
The number of people on kidney dialysis in Alberta stands at about 2,200. These people are potential recipients of a kidney donation.
The Canadian Institute for Health Information estimates that the annual cost of dialysis is $60,000 per patient, compared to a one-time cost of $23,000 for a transplant and $6,000 per year for medication.
One deceased donor can save eight lives and if willing to donate organs and tissue, a person could impact over 80 lives, Robles said.
Albertans can sign up online through the link MyHealth.Alberta.ca to be an organ or tissue donor. The Alberta Organ and Tissue Donation Registry is linked to the website.
As well, as of last year, when Albertans renew their driver’s licence, they are asked if they want to sign up to the donation registry. Next of kin still make the final decision, but people who sign up should discuss their wishes with family.
Anyone wanting to be a living donor needs to call the Living Donor Program in Edmonton or Calgary.
The Advocate tried to contact whoever placed the ad, but there was no response.