The donated organ is then transplanted into another person who requires an organ. Organ donation also demands the support of families to get involved in organ donation after the life of the person.
Sufferers often waste their lives in pain and anticipating transplants that could score meaning to their lives.
Ultimately, the scarcity and misconceptions around the idea of organ donation stop millions of families from donating, thereby, costing the lives of many such people. It is therefore mandatory to raise awareness on the safety of organ donation amongst the public.
Donating an organ is both a gift and a life-saving act.
How do you Consign for Organ Donation?
The process of organ donation includes the primary agreement of the donor people (both living and deceased) for giving a healthy organ or tissue for transplantation to a person who has a failing or damaged organ.
The donor is nearly universal to everyone, regardless of age, race, or gender. However parental or legal guardian approval is needed for donors under the age of 18 years.
The deceased person can donate almost all the important organs to save the lives of the needy ones. This includes eight vital organs:
- Kidneys (2)
- Lungs (2)
- Tissues include: cornea, skin, heart valves, bone, blood vessels, and connective tissue
- Bone marrow and stem cells, umbilical cord blood, and peripheral blood stem cells (PBSC)
The Transplant Human Organ Act (THOA) of 1994 covers all medico-legal aspects of organ/tissue transplantation.
Indian Scenario on Organ Donation
India is found to have only 3% of registered organ donors.
Approximately 1.5-2 lakh people were estimated to require kidney transplants annually; however, only about 8,000 (4%) patients obtain them as per data from AIIMS.
About 80,000 people require liver transplants each year, but only 1,800 are provided.
Corneal or eye transplants sum up to 1 lakh recipients. But only about half of them are successful in making to transplant.
It is reported that only ~200 out of every 10,000 cardiac transplant patients match with a potential donor.
- One of the predominant reasons for this scarcity in organ donation is the lack of public understanding and misguidance about the donation process.
Hesitancy to Organ Donation
Among various misconceptions around organ donation (that hamper the process in India) like fears of disfigurement, non-acceptance of brain death, religious beliefs, and non-availability of consent for migrant workers, the top reason for scarcity to organ donation is the misuse of organs.
“People do not have any information regarding the process of organ donation. People who have the donor’s card do not know how and when to use it. Most donors are worried about their organs being sold to rich patients or being sold in illegal markets,” says Sunanyna Singh, founder of Organ, an organ-receiving and awareness network.
Even if certain people agree to organ donations, many of them face a constant struggle to overcome the immense pressure from family members who are against it.
The Indian government through the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare urges their citizens to take a step forward to save lives on Organ Donation Day through the thought – ‘Don’t take your organs to heaven with you. God knows we need them here’.
Pandemic and Organ Donations
It is reported that India has already a low rate of organ donation and the curve has dipped drastically low during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many people avoid hospital visits during the pandemic and this has made organ donation even more difficult.
It was reported that the countries with high infection rates have witnessed organ donations fall by more than 50% as per a study published in the journal The Lancet.
“Organ donation has come down drastically during the pandemic. While it was completely shut during the lockdown, in the last two months we have seen some people coming ahead to donate. (Overall) we have seen a 70 per cent drop in the number of organ donors. And with the Covid virus infecting people’s lungs, we have seen an increase in the number of potential recipients and drop in number of donors,” says Dr. Vijil Rahulan, the additional director and chief transplant pulmonologist at Krishna Institute of Medical Sciences (KIMS) in Hyderabad.
The organ donors may get themselves registered on online portals like the National Organ and Tissue Transplant Organization (NOTTO – national organization under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare’s Directorate General of Health Services),
Pledge Your Organs – https://www.mohanfoundation.org/donorcard.asp
Family members of a deceased person can also consent to donate their organs. The steps that can be taken to donate organs as per the information on the AIIMS official website include:
Commitment to organ donation when a person is still living and family’s consent after death.
Pledging for organ donation can be done at any time during life by filling out a “Organ/Body Donation” form from the official websites.
The form requires two witnesses’ signatures, one of whom must be a close family.
Upon the approval of the request, a “Donor Card” with a registration number is received.
Necessary information must be shared with your loved ones, once you decide to become a donor.
In the case where a person dies without registering, his or her organs can still be donated through the consent of the person’s relatives. The body of the deceased is then courteously delivered to the family.
This world organ donation day, pass your gift of life and be a reason behind someone’s hope!
‘Every Organ donation counts; Pledge your organs today’ – Organ India
Facts on Organ Donation
- Organ donation can be performed by anyone of any age, caste, religion, or group.
- Organs that can be donated in the case of natural death include – tissues of the cornea, heart valves, bone, and skin.
- Donations of vital organs like the heart, liver, intestines, kidneys, lungs, and pancreas can only be donated in the case of brain death.
- People with active cancer, HIV, or active infection are not candidates for organ donation. However, people with hepatitis B or C may be donors.
- There is no cost to the donor’s family or estate for organ donation.
- Organ donations do not distort the donor’s body and almost all the major religions support organ donation.
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