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To Buy an iPad, Teen Sells His Kidney

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By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on April 11, 2012 6:57 AM

Are iPhones and iPads worth a kidney?

One Chinese teen used to think so. Authorities have charged 5 individuals with "intentional injury," accusing them of illegally harvesting a 17-year-old's kidney. A surgeon, a hospital contractor and the organ brokers shared in approximately $32,000.

The boy, who sold his kidney to buy an iPad and an iPhone, was only paid about $3,500.

The iProducts probably weren't worth the kidney. The boy is now suffering from deteriorating renal deficiency, according to Reuters. He'll be lucky if he makes it past Apple's 1-year warranty.

Sad as it is, this story serves an important lesson. It's illegal to buy and sell organs in most of the world.

In the U.S., organ sales and purchases are outlawed by the National Organ Transplant Act. Penalties include five years in prison and a $50,000 fine. There are similar provisions in many other countries.

Even India and the Philippines, two of the last countries to authorize organ sales, have outlawed the practice. India did so in 1994, and the Philippines followed in 2008. There were simply too many issues with black market trading.

Still, there remains at least one place where you can legally buy and sell an organ -- Iran. That is, if you can successfully get in and out of the country without being accused of being a spy. Iran has a legal and regulated kidney trade.

So if you want to safely and legally sell a kidney to buy an iPad, your best bet is to go to Iran. You'll even be left with some cash -- kidneys fetch between $2,000 and $4,000.

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