NBC News
updated 12/14/2011 4:33:18 PM ET 2011-12-14T21:33:18

A search for a kidney donor that began on Craigslist.org has led a Miami woman to an operating room, WPTV's Dan Corcoran reports. Selina Hodge, 28, posted her plea for a kidney donor in July, hoping someone -- anyone -- would come to her rescue.

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Hodge received more than 800 responses from around the world, including one from a woman who lives just miles from her Palm Beach Gardens home. Stephanie Grant, 23, was the person who saw Hodge's story on the news and decided to step in to help. Doctors say that is a very difficult decision to make.

"Living donors are very unique individuals," said Dr. Linda Chen of the Jackson Memorial Hospital on the University of Miami Medical Center Campus, where Hodge and Grant arrived for transplant surgery Tuesday. "They are the true heroes in society because they are completely selfless and they have nothing to gain from the procedure and it's actually a gift of love."

Before any surgery, prospective donors and recipients must take a series of psychosocial and medical tests.

"It's never easy, and it's always difficult," said Chen.

After several months of counseling and evaluations, Hodge and Grant underwent the transplant surgery Tuesday.  

Both women are recovering and will remain the hospital for at least the next several days.

While the Internet posting provided Hodge with a life-saving organ, it may not be the best strategy for others desperately in need of a new kidney.

"Finding such a donor might be in your best interest, but it does not make this the right thing to do from the point of view of all those needing kidneys," says bioethicist Art Caplan, Ph.D., director of the Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania and msnbc.com contributor. "By getting a stranger to donate to you you may have caused someone else who needed it much more urgently to get passed over."

Although people who donate organs are often "heroes," Caplan cautions that others could be seeking quick payoff and may not go through with the operation once receiving payment.

Instead of using social media or the Internet to find a donor, Caplan suggests a centralized registry of willing donors who can recommend any recipient they want, after going through mandatory counseling.

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Video: Woman turns to Craigslist for kidney

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