From Age Restrictions to Legality: Debunking Myths About Organ Donation
Read more about the myths and facts around organ donation.
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In 1994, the Transplantation of Human Organs and Tissues Act (THOTA) was passed in India, which allowed both deceased and living donors to donate their organs. It also included brain death as a form of death.
According to World Health Organization (WHO) and Global Observatory on Donation and Transplantation (GODT)'s data for 2021, India recorded a total of 12,259 organ transplants.
This made 8.1 percent from global organ donations including kidney, liver, heart, lung, pancreas, and small bowel.
However, lack of knowledge and awareness about organ donation has held people back from signing up for donation.
This World Organ Donation Day, The Quint debunks myths around the donation process.
We spoke with Dr Amit Nabar, a Consultant Emergency Medicine & Head at SL Raheja Hospital Mahim – Fortis Associate and debunked the following myths.
Who Can Be an Organ Donor?
Anyone can donate organs as per the Transplantation of Human Organs and Tissues Act (THOTA) of 1994, except for people with serious medical conditions including cancer, Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) or serious infection.
Will My History of Medical Issues Prevent Me From Becoming an Organ Donor?
Individuals suffering from cancer, HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis B or severe infections cannot donate because these conditions affect the quality of the organs. The organs donated should be in good condition which could provide a healthy life of at least eight to ten years to the recipient of the organ.
Am I Too Old/Young To Donate an Organ?
More than the age, the quality of the organ that is being donated matters. If the organ is in good condition to be donated, the age of the donor does not matter. But after the age of 80, the quality of the organ tends to reduce. Individuals below the age of 18 can donate with their parent's consent.
Can Only Certain Organs Can Be Donated, Like the Liver or Kidney?
There are almost 9-10 solid organs and tissues that can be donated. These include kidney, liver, heart, pancreas, lung, intestines, cornea, middle ear, bone marrow, tissues like skin (even after death), heart valves, tendons of muscles, and limb transplants.
Can I Only Donate My Organs to My Blood Relatives And Not to Strangers?
According to THOTA, living donors can only donate organs to immediate family members – parents, siblings, grandparents, children, and spouse – to ensure transparency about no hidden financial gratification about pledging the organ. This undergoes a verification process before approval by the authorisation committee.
Is Organ Donation Illegal in India?
The most critical act called THOTA came in India in 1994 which declared 'brain dead' as a legal and acceptable form of death, making way for organ donation. It is legal to donate organs according to this act. There are Zonal Transplant Coordination Committee (ZTCC) and National Organ & Tissue Transplant Organisation (NOTTO) to keep the organ donation and transplant data in check in the nation.
Can Donating Organs Impact My Health?
Living donors can donate kidney and livers and still lead a fruitful life with one kidney as well as long as they take care of their health. As the liver regrows, an individual can be healthy even after donating the organ. The cadaveric donor – who are brain dead or heart dead -–can donate cornea, heart valves, skin, and bones.
Will I Be Charged for Donating My Organs?
If a cadaveric donor is donating organs, then no charges are taken from the family of the donor. Once the family pledges or gives consent for their organ donation, the ZTCC takes care of the costs.
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Topics: Health Myths Organ Donation
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