Hair Donation : An Inquiry Into a New Phenomenon In Iran
13 October, 2017
Everybody wants to look more beautiful. Hair is an important beauty factor. In Iran, for the first time in history: hair transplantation using others’ hair bank.
Quotidien IRAN | Maryam Taleshi | Photo: ISNA

They don’t want wild strands of hair on their heads, covering their scalp is enough to them. You may have very thin hair or be bald; it's none of our business. Some people don’t really care but others pay a lot of attention to this issue and they even envy those with bushy hair. Regardless of the former, the latter would do enything to recover their lost hair, or at least a part of it: from consulting different doctors, taking all sorts of pills, to hair transplant which has its own story.  Chosing to have hair or not depends on the individuals and their mindsets. The problem starts when one does everything to join the club of the bushy-haired! That’s the point where frauds enter our story. Beauty and cosmetics is one of the best areas to persuade people to empty their wallets.

For the first time in history: hair transplantation using others’ hair bank.” The SMS advertisement seems to announce a new event. It's like a  glimmer of hope for the desperate hairless who have not been able to undergo transplantation, because their own hair bank was so weak that even the scalps of their backheads were not graftable. Grafting organs like hearts, kidneys, livers, and corneas has been done for years, giving patients their lives back. But hair! It is by no means comparable to those vital human organs! Nevertheless, hair could become so vital to some people that they would do anything for it; including hair grafting!

A phone call to the number in the text message can provide the applicant with the information about hair grafting.

“If the hair bank is so weak and there is no possibility to use the individual’s own hair follicles, we can introduce a donor to ou. There is no special condition except the donor's hair bank quality. In this respect, the donor’s gender does not even matter.”

The lady on the phone gives complementary information:

“The donee must refer to the center together with the donor who will be taken a sample of his or her hair. A one-week test is necessary to assess the compatibility of the donor’s hair follicles. If the outcome of the test is positive, 10 to 12% of the donor’s hair will be grafted on the donee's scalp. As a matter of fact, the donor loses 10 to 12% of their hair which can be either recovered in some cases or not."

The lady insists that no one can be introduced by the beauty center and donees must bring their potential donors themselves.

With these explanations, one may think that the donee should have a special relationship to the donor so the latter accepts to give 10% of their hair. But the downside is that it might become a new niche for intermediaries who could use hair dealing along with the sale of kidneys, livers, ovules and fetuses.

The operator ensures that this kind of hair transplant is similar to the common method and no problem will be heard of. Whether the method is scientific and effective should be asked to an expert before finding a donor.

According to Dr Farah Al Gheis from the International Hair Transplant Sergeants’ Society, “ when a transplant surgery is scheduled, immunosuppressive medications will be proposed to the donee. Their immune system must work a minimum so that the body can accept the new organ. In critical transplants, such as for kidneys and livers, if the graft is unavoidable, donees may face serious problems endangering their lives. As a consequence, these situations require careful medical attention. Yet hair transplant is not biologically necessary and there is no medical reason to reduce the patient’s immunity that much. Moreover, no place in the world uses this method. Even in the US where the International Hair Transplant Sergeants’ Society exists, there is no such approach and it is even denied medically.

There are some applicants that might have weak hair bank and those cannot receive ideal hair transplant. These people will be suggested to use other methods such wigs but performing an unprofessional surgery is unacceptable.”

 Nethertheless, there is another those kinds of advertising text messages poses another problem that applicants are not aware of. Al Gheis says: “The fact that such messages are sent to random people is a problem which needs to be addressed by the ministries of Health and Telecommunication. But it is seen that jobbers send such texts easily; the advertisements which are made only for persuading applicants to go to beauty centers. It is very simple; the applicant goes to the center and is provided with all the information and tested for sampling. Then they can easily say that the results are not successful and some other methods must be used, the patient will accept or not. In both cases, the applicant has been sent to operation room and paid the expanses which are profitable for the beauty center. The test has its own expenses which must be paid as well by the applicant and finally she won’t get what she wanted. Now, some research are being done to find out if the stem cells can be used for recovery of hair follicles or not.

Everybody wants to look more beautiful. Hair is an important beauty factor. It is said that health is like a crown on the head of healthy people which can only be seen by those who are not healthy. Hair is considered like this for some of the hairless or low-haired people.

A few years ago, Deutsche Welle television network of Germany announced news from researches which was highly concerned.

According to the research results, bald people consider it as a problem. The research also showed that some consider bushy hair as a high sexual tendency factor and hair highly affects others’ viewpoints. It showed that those men, who pay a lot of attention to their hair, consider it as a sign of youngness and hair loss will bring them mental problems. Publishing this news and the similar ones made many men all around the world seek a solution for this problem of theirs. Who do you think will be benefited more by publishing such news?

Now curing the baldness has changed into a multi-million dollar industry in the world. Even some countries, such as Turkey, are introduced as cheap destinations for hair transplant tourism in order to duplicate the incomes of this country from tourism industry. Iran is another sample. Although there are no exact statistics about the number of hair transplant operations in Iran, the evidences show that more people demand hair transplant everyday in this country with the difference that they are the applicants for this industry and don’t make it to a tourism destination. If fact, Iranian people pay more attention to their hair than their teeth. They don’t ever like that wavy crown to fall from their heads!

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