Here are some frequently asked questions about organ donation that you will find helpful to study.
Anyone can donate. Organs which can be donated depend on the medical condition of the patient.
The donor’s body is not disfigured. Only a small-cut is made like during a surgery.
You can pledge to donate your organs in your lifetime and also inform your family members about the decision of organ donation. You can also, in writing state your wish to donate your organs.
A brain-dead person is a person whose brain-stem is no longer functioning and where there is no scope for recovery. Brain-dead patients are kept on the support of a ventilator.
Brain stem is an important part of the brain that sustains life. A brain stem dead person is an unconscious, dependent patient, who cannot breathe on his own and breathing through a ventilator, even though one can feel his pulse, blood pressure and other sign of life. The lack of functioning of the brain stem is a sign of death and rest of the body will eventually stop functioning even if the ventilator is continued.
It is different between coma patients and brain dead individuals. The coma patient is not dead whereas brain stem death is an irreversible stage beyond coma, as the person can either regain no consciousness or breathing capability. The heart can continue to function due to ventilator for few hours to few days & it is during this period that the organs can be retrieved after obtaining consent from the close relatives. Organs are never taken at the cost of donor’s life.
The Transplantation of Human Organ Act, 1994 and its future amendments – with last being in 2011 along with The Transplantation of Human Organ Rules, 1995 and its future amendments govern the organ transplantation that happen in India.
There are no fees for organ transplantation.
NOTTO (National Organ & Tissue Transplant Organization) is the central authority for organ donation in India.
Selling and buying of organs is strictly prohibited in India. It is a punishable offence for which one can be sent to up to 10 years of imprisonment and be asked to pay a fine of up to Rs. 20 Lakhs (was 5 years and Rs. 10000 when the act commenced). Also under section 370 of The Indian Penal Code, a person who does force removal of organs (without consent) is liable to be sentenced for 7-10 years and fine.
Life-saving organs such as heart, kidney, pancreas, lungs, liver and intestines can be donated. Tissues, such as bones, ligaments and tendons, are often needed, so they can also be donated. Corneas, heart valves and skin may also be donated. For tissues, a bank can be created.
Each organ is flushed free of blood after removal from the patient’s body with a specially prepared ice-cold preservation solution that contains electrolytes and nutrients. The organs are then placed in sterile containers, packaged in wet ice and transported to the recipient’s transplant centre.
All religions support organ donation as it is a kind of help that we extend to our fellow humans. Charity is not prohibited by any religion.
No, this is a myth. All patients are given the same level of medical treatment, organ donors or not.
These are the times for which different organs can stay out of the human body:
Lung – 4 to 6 hours
Heart – 4 to 6 hours
Liver – 24 hours
Pancreas – 24 hours
Kidney – 72 hours
Cornea – 14 days
Bones – 5 years
Skin – 5 years
Heart Valves – 10 years
Your next of kin or family is asked to give consent to donate your organs. This is a norm in India.
There are a few steps for the receiving of organs that are as follows:
No, this is strictly prohibited in India. The criteria are pre-defined and it depends upon the date of registration and medical condition.
Directed donation is when the family members of a cadaver donor request that the organs are donated to a specific person in the family. However the decision to do that or not lies with the Authorization committee set up under the THOA Act, 1994.
No, only those hospitals that have registered as per the law laid down by the THOA can carry out the procedure of organ transplantation. Removal of organs without authority attracts a penalty that may lead to permanent de-registration of the hospital.
As per THOA, the following can declare a person as brain-dead:
No, there is no age limit. The organs, at the time of retrieval are tested there for health. However, those who are under 18 years of age would need the consent of their parents or guardians to donate their organs.
Yes, but in this case as well, the consent of the person’s parents or guardians would be required.
Yes, there may be specific reason why it has not been possible to donate blood, such as having anemia or had a blood transfusion or temporary health condition. Sometimes a simple thing like a cold or medication that you are taking can prevent you from donating blood.
According to NOTTO, there are two types of waiting lists; one is urgent waiting list and another one is a regular waiting list. Urgent listing of patients for cadaver organ transplant is primarily based on medical criteria, i.e. patient needs organ on urgent basis otherwise he/she may not survive.
The regular waiting list is also based on medical criteria and these criteria are different for different organs. Like for kidney transplant, a main criterion is time spent on regular dialysis. Similarly, for other organs, criteria are different.
Yes, that system of the waiting list is very transparent. You can know your status.
No, this is not possible. Only hospitals are equipped to handle organ transplants in a faster and proper way. Time plays a very important role in the process of organ transplantation.
According to NOTTO website, the National Registry is:
The Organ Transplant Registry shall include demographic data about the patient waiting for the transplant (Organ/hospital wise waiting list), donor (Living Donor including Related Donor, Other than Near related Donor, Swap Donors and Deceased Donor), hospitals, follow up details of recipients and donor etc., and the data shall be collected from all retrieval and transplant centers.
Data collection may preferably be through a web- based interface or paper submission and the information shall be maintained both specific organ wise and also in consolidated formats.
The hospital or institution shall update its website regularly in respect of the total number of the transplantation done in that hospital or institution along with a reasonable detail of transplant and the same data should be accessible for compilation, analysis and further used by the authorized persons of respective State Governments and Central Governments.
The Organ Donation Registry shall include demographic information of donor (both living and deceased), hospital, height and weight, occupation, primary cause of death in case of deceased donor, associated medical illness, relevant laboratory tests, donor maintenance details, driving license or any other document of pledging donation, donation requested by whom, transplant coordinator, organ or tissue retrieved, outcome of donated organs or tissue, details of recipient, etc.
The tissue registry shall include demographic information on the tissue donor, site of tissue retrieval or donation, primary cause of death in case of deceased donor, donor maintenance details in case of brain stem dead donor, associated medical illnesses, relevant laboratory tests, driving license or any other document pledging donation, donation requested by whom, identity of counselors, tissue(s) or organ(s) retrieved, demographic data about the tissue recipient, hospital conducting transplantation, transplant waiting list and priority list for critical patients, if these exists, indication(s) for transplant, outcome of transplanted tissue, etc.
4. Organ Donor Pledge Registry:
The National Organ Donor Register is a computerized database which records the wishes of people who have pledged for organ and tissue donation. A person during their life can pledge to donate their organ(s) or tissue(s) after their death through Form 7 and submit it in paper or online to the respective networking organization and pledger has the option to withdraw the pledge through intimation.
There are many hospitals and organization those are also maintaining the list of the persons who have pledged organ donation with them, will be passed to National Organ & Tissue Transplant Organization for National Register.
Because you can give a gift to someone else who is waiting for it. Because, after death, the organ will be of no use to you but will be life-changing for the person who receives your organs.
One can, first pledge to donate their organs. The support or volunteer with an NGO and last but not the least, help create awareness through various mediums.