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Record number of kidney transplants in Finland last year

The number of kidney transplants in Finland has soared by 40 percent in recent years – thanks to a law that allows organ harvesting from nearly any deceased person.

Kirurgi työskentelee leikkaussalissa.
Image: Dan Anderson / EPA

Organ transplants have become more common in Finland since 2010. That’s when legislation was changed so that anyone’s organs can be used after death unless he or she specifically forbade it in advance.

Last year 245 kidney transplants were carried out in Finland. That was five more than the previous year and 70 more than in 2010.

There is also a conscious effort in Finland to encourage organ sharing from living donors, says Dr. Stefan Anderson, head of the dialysis and kidney unit at Southern Ostrobothnia Central Hospital in Seinäjoki.

“So far such transplants are rarer in Finland than in the other Nordic countries. Last year 15 of these transplants were carried out in all of Finland, two of them here in Seinäjoki. There are two more such cases now under consideration here,” says Anderson.

In Finland living-donor transplants usually involve close blood relatives. Anderson says that such kidney transplants usually go well, with recipients having better chances of survival and donors managing well with just one kidney.

“Last year we also had one case where a wife donated a kidney to her husband,” he adds.

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