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Can I Legally Buy Someone's Kidney, or Sell My Own?

Yes and No. While you cannot sell a kidney or liver legally, there are parts of yourself you can sell. Most are body parts that can be replenished. For example, you can sell your hair. Or if you are male you can sell your sperm, although it is quite difficult to qualify for a sperm donor card.

According to the Federal National Organ Transplant Act of 1984 (NOTA) found in Title 42, section 274e of the U.S. Code, anyone convicted of buying or selling human organs in the United States faces a five-year prison sentence and/or a fine of up to $50,000. Since the law's language expressly states that it is a crime if an individual "knowingly acquire, receive, or otherwise transfer" a human organ, this in fact can be used as a defense for those who unwittingly receive an unlawfully procured organ.

You can, however, get reimbursed for the expenses associated with donating an organ.

The payments permitted under the law include "expenses of travel, housing, and lost wages incurred by the donor of a human organ in connection with the donation of the organ."

However, if you are a living donor (donor of single kidneys or portions of an organs) you may not be reimbursed for some of the associated pot-operative costs. Moreover, after such a procedure you, as a living donor may experience difficulty maintaining affordable health insurance coverage. Most transplant centers will offer the assistance of financial coordinators to help with insurance and related issues.

Some states also offer traditional incentives such as reimbursement for costs associated with organ donation. For instance, according to the National Kidney Foundation some states allow living donors to take tax deductions (up to $5,000 in Kansas) and a few other states (including Louisiana and Utah) offer tax credits of up to $10,000 for donors.

You can sell body parts that can be replenished.