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FAQs on organ donation

This topic provides information about FAQs on organ and tissue donation.

What is Organ Donation?

Organ Donation is the gift of an organ to a person with end stage organ disease and who needs a transplant.

What are the different types of Organ Donation?

There are two types of organ donation:-

  1. Living Donor Organ Donation: A person during his life can donate one kidney (the other kidney is capable of maintaining the body functions adequately for the donor), a portion of pancreas (half of the pancreas is adequate for sustaining pancreatic functions) and a part of the liver (the segments of liver will regenerate after a period of time in both recipient and donor).
  2. Deceased Donor Organ Donation: A person can donate multiple organ and tissues after (brain-stem/cardiac) death. His/her organcontinues to live in another personӳ body.

Is there any age limit for Organ Donation?

Age limit for Organ Donation varies, depending upon whether it is living donation or cadaver donation; for example in living donation, person should be above 18 year of age, and for most of the organs deciding factor is the person's physical condition and not the age. Specialist healthcare professionals decide which organs are suitable case to case. Organs and tissue from people in their 70s and 80s have been transplanted successfully all over the world. In the case of tissues and eyes, age usually does not matter. A deceased donor can generally donate the Organs & Tissues with the age limit of:

  • Kidneys, liver : up-to 70 years
  • Heart, lungs : up-to 50 years
  • Pancreas, Intestine : up-to 60-65 years
  • Corneas, skin : up-to 100 years
  • Heart valves : up-to 50 years
  • Bone : up-to 70 years

Who can be a Donor?

  • Living Donor: Any person not less than 18 years of age, who voluntarily authorizes the removal of any of his organ and/or tissue, during his or her lifetime, as per prevalent medical practices for therapeutic purposes.
  • Deceased Donor: Anyone, regardless of age, race or gender can become an organ and tissue donor after his or her Death (Brainstem/Cardiac). Consent of near relative or a person in lawful possession of the dead body is required. If the deceased donor is under the age of 18 years, then the consent required from one of the parent or any near relative authorized by the parents is essential. Medical suitability for donation is determined at the time of death.

How can I be a Donor, What is the process to take donor pledge?

You can be a donor by expressing your wish in the authorized organ and tissue donation form (Form-7 As per THOA) and send signed copy to NOTTO at below mentioned address:
4th Floor, NIOP Building, Safdarjung Hospital Campus,
New Delhi-110029.

You may fill up an online pledge to donate your organs. To sign up and register yourself as donor, click here.

Do I need to carry my donor card always?

Yes, it will be helpful for the health professionals and your family.

Do I need to register my pledge with more than one Organisation?

No, if you have already pledged with one Organisation & received a Donor Card, you need not register with any other organisation.

Can a person, without a family, register for pledge?

Yes, you can pledge, but you need to preferably inform the person closest to you in life, a friend of long standing or a close colleague, about your decision of pledging. To fulfill your donation wishes, healthcare professionals will need to speak to someone else at the time of your death for the consent.

If I had pledged before, can I change my mind to un-pledge?

Yes, you can unpledge by making a call to the NOTTO office or write or visit NOTTO website www.notto.gov.in and avail of the un-pledge option by logging into your account. Also, let your family know that you have changed your mind regarding organ donation pledge.

Are donors screened to identify if they have a transmissible disease?

Yes, Blood is taken from all potential donors and tested to rule out transmissible diseases and viruses such as HIV and hepatitis. The family of the potential donor is made aware that this procedure is required.

Can I be a donor if I have an existing medical condition?

Yes, in most circumstances you can be a donor. Having a medical condition does not necessarily prevent a person from becoming an organ or tissue donor. The decision about whether some or all organs or tissue are suitable for transplant is made by a healthcare professional, taking into account your medical history.

In very rare cases, the organs of donors with HIV or hepatitis-C have been used to help others with the same conditions. This is only ever carried out when both parties have the condition. All donors have rigorous checks to guard against infection.

Can I be an organ donor, if I have been rejected to donate blood?

Yes, The decision about whether some or all organs or tissue are suitable for transplant is always made by a specialist, taking into account your medical history. There may be specific reasons why it has not been possible to donate blood, such as having anemia or had a blood transfusion or had hepatitis in the past or there may be reasons why you could not donate blood because of your health at the time - sometimes a simple thing like a cold or medication that you are taking can prevent you from donating blood.

How does whole body donation differ from organ donation?

Organ donation for therapeutic purposes is covered under the Transplantation of Human Organs Act (THOA 1994). Whole body donation is covered by the Anatomy Act 1984.

Organ and Tissue donation is defined as the act of giving life to others after death by donating his/her organs to the needy suffering from end stage organ failure.

Body donation is defined as the act of giving oneӳ body after death for medical research and education. Those donated cadavers remain a principal teaching tool for anatomists and medical educators teaching gross anatomy.

Can a dead body be left for medical education or research after the organs have been retrieved for donation?

No, Bodies are not accepted for teaching purposes if organs have been donated or if there has been a post-mortem examination. However, if only the corneas are to be donated, a body can be left for research.

Source : National Organ & Tissue Transplant Organisation

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