This Saturday, Aug. 6, 2016 photo, shows handwritten advertisements for kidneys for sale, that include the sellers' phone number and blood type, posted on a door in downtown Tehran, Iran. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)
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The whirling hum of a dialysis machine could have been the soundtrack to the rest of Zahra Hajikarimi's life, but for an unusual program in Iran that allows people to buy a kidney from a living donor.In addition, kidneys from a living donor have a significantly better long-term survival rate than those from a deceased donor.Iran allowed patients to travel abroad through much of the '80s for transplants – including to America.Today, more than 1,480 people receive a kidney transplant from a living donor in Iran each year, about 55 percent of the total of 2,700 transplants annually, according to government figures.In the U.S., about a third of kidney donations come from living donors.However, it's clear that some donors are motivated by the cash payout.Iran's system offers a different way to address the lack of kidneys for transplant around the world, said Sigrid Fry-Revere, an expert on the program whose book, "The Kidney Sellers: A Journey of Discovery in Iran," examines it in depth.
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