Organ Trafficking and Transplant Tourism


International Society of Nephrology (ISN) and the Transplantation Society (TTS) in Partnership

Organ transplantation is one of the life-saving medical breakthroughs of the 20th century. Over the years, this accomplishment has been marked by growing reports of organ trafficking. Vulnerable people in poor regions have become victim to illegal transplant networks.

In 2008, the International Society of Nephrology (ISN) and the Transplantation Society (TTS) worked on preparing content for the Istanbul Declaration on Organ Trafficking and Transplant Tourism. Their efforts culminated in the Declaration being finalized at the International Summit in Istanbul, Turkey.

This framework governs organ donation and transplantation activities. It is not binding but ensures donor and recipient safety, enforces standards and prohibits unethical practices worldwide. ISN has also set up a group to guide activities and help governments as well as the medical and patient community fight this problem.

Driving out illegal practices

The Declaration calls on the medical community, especially transplant surgeons and nephrologists, to join the World Health Organization (WHO) to put pressure on Health Ministries with a transplantation program to eliminate organ trafficking and transplant tourism. 

After a series of meetings, the TTS and ISN have created a Declaration of Istanbul Custodian Group (DICG), which had its inaugural meeting in Cairo, in March 2010. The DICG is co-led by President of TTS Dr. Jeremy Chapman and ISN President  Dr. Adeera Levin.

For more information, please visit the Declaration of Istanbul website at


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