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Critically Speaking

Apr 15, 2020

In this episode, Therese Markow and Dr. Gabriel Danovitch discuss the history of solid organ transplantation, how the organ donation list works, and the standards for donation, from both living and deceased donors. Kidneys are the most transplanted of solid organs.  In some countries, poor people are exploited to sell a kidney which is then used in a transplant tourist. With the Declaration of Istanbul in 2008, stronger standards were put into place to protect both the recipient and the donor involved in a transplant.  While this has helped reduce organ trafficking, certain countries are still exploiting underprivileged groups to sell their kidneys. Because genetic matching can be overcome by modern medicine, almost any healthy person can serve as a donor.  Dr. Danovitch continually reinforces the importance organ donation as a society value, and a value completely separated from any financial incentives.



 Key Takeaways:

  • You do not need to be related to the recipient to be an organ donor, which simplifies this aspect of transplantation.
  • At the same time, the incidence of end-stage renal disease is increasing owing to the obesity and diabetes epidemic, and thus the need for donors also has increased.
  • Willing organ donors have better mental and physical outcomes than individuals that sold an organ.


"A donor needs to be healthy and motivated, and then we can find a way to make that transplant happen, whether they’re matched or not." —  Dr. Gabriel Danovitch


Connect with Dr. Gabriel Danovitch:

David Geffen School of Medicine

University of California at Los Angeles


United Network for Organ Sharing:


Connect with Therese:


Twitter: @CritiSpeak




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