Progressive improvements in all aspects of the kidney transplant regimen establish this form of renal replacement therapy as superior to peritoneal or hemodialysis in terms of extent of rehabilitation and long-term recipient survival. Continuous growth in the number of patients with kidney failure sustained by dialytic therapy has not been associated with substantially increased deceased donor kidney contributions, causing intensified stressful waiting periods for potential recipients lacking a live kidney donor. Neither public relation campaigns nor local government efforts have substantially increased kidney donation. Buying a donor kidney is illegal and condemned as fostering exploitation of poor people by the wealthy. Widely publicized examples of coercion of unwilling donors create a negative image of harmful, inhumane conduct deployed to obtain kidneys sold and transplanted under unsavory circumstances. Yet efforts to establish and test governmental programs to supervise and sustain acceptable standards for the sale and implantation of kidneys from fully informed, medically evaluated and protected, fairly compensated donors have been resisted and frustrated by those who consider such compensation loathsome. Accordingly, while selling kidneys is prohibited by law, pressure from those wanting to quench the number of deaths of wait-listed dialysis patients continues forcing reexamination of an issue that, like prohibition of the possession and sale of alcohol in the United States in 1920, places the will of a people in opposition to unreasonably restrictive laws. The debate continues.

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