This is a (slightly edited) repost of a question I asked on the EA subreddit. They recommended I ask the same question here, too. I hope this doesn't go against any forum rules; if it does, please let me know and I will create a new post for the question.

Hi all. Ever since Scott Alexander's article on kidney donation came out last year, I've been looking into donating one of my own (to the best of my knowledge healthy) kidneys.

The snag: I live in Germany, which doesn't allow undirected organ donation. Nor would our health insurance cover the costs of a transplant done abroad (e.g. the Netherlands, which does allow UOD). And while I may be altruistic, I'm not holy or wealthy enough to pay thousands of Euros out of my own pocket.

So I'm looking for loopholes / a way that would allow me to do this. Do any of you have any good ideas or can point me in the right direction?

PS: I'm by no means committed to donating yet, but I resent not even having the option of choosing to do so. If there's a way for me to donate legally, I anticipate a 70% chance of doing so.

Reddit user SvalbardCaretaker directed me towards the Swiss, who will apparently do surgeries of this kind for Germans as well. Unfortunately, Google is less than helpful in this question, so I'm hoping to hear from another German national who has had some experiences in this matter.

Thanks in advance!




Sorted by Click to highlight new comments since: Today at 9:23 PM

Dumb suggestion: is there any way you could find someone in Germany who needed one and then make a directed donation? Maybe there is a Facebook group or Reddit for such people.

That's not a bad idea. Though AFAIK clinics check your relationship with the recipient and aren't afraid to reject you if they don't deem you close enough. But I'll check the option out, thanks!


A couple of resources. Any transplant center in the US who is a National Kidney Registry(NKR) donor hospital (Map of National Kidney Registry Member Transplant Centers) may be willing to work you up as a donor. This is typically done at no cost to you (you will want to verify by communicating with the transplant center first). 

If you are found to be a suitable donor, they have a protection called Donor Shield (Donor Shield | Protecting & Supporting Living Kidney Donors ( which theoretically covers you for complications related to the donation. Complications are rare, but it is still worth having. Again, you will want to confirm with NKR that this applies to a non-US citizen. They also give some financial assistance for lost wages, travel, etc. 

Thank you! The States are a little further than I would prefer, but I'll keep it in mind in case other options fail.

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