There are more than one million people who are waiting for organ donors to survive. This waiting list grows by the day. This is although a single organ donor can save up to nine lives and donate 20+ organs. Organ transplant simply involves replacing a defective organ in a patient with a healthy organ. This increases the survival rate as well as the quality of life.
Types of Organ Donors
There are two types of Organ donors.
- Living donor. A living person donates an organ for transplant. As per Indian law, the donor should be a family member, relative, or friend. A living donor can only donate a kidney, liver, or lung.
- Deceased Donor. Once a person is reported brain dead, the healthy organs of the deceased can be transplanted within a stipulated period as per medical guidelines. There are about 25 organs that can be transplanted to save lives.
Indian Legal Position
Organ transplant is governed by ‘Transplantation of Human Organs Act 1994’. It lays down the guidelines and procedures to declare a person ‘Brain dead’ and use organs. To stop illegal organ trade and exploitation of the poor, the law strictly complies.
How to become an organ donor
Organ donation is voluntary. However, various NGOs are working to spread awareness and motivate people to donate organs. The registration process to become an organ donor is very simple. The government has made an organization, ‘National Organ and Tissue Transplant’ (NOTTO). This organization has a website where one can fill online consent form to become a donor. The consent from family members of a brain-dead patient can also be processed at the hospital.
Age limit to become a donor
You will be surprised to know that there is no age limit to become an organ donor. If the medical board set up by NOTTO declares it safe to use the organ from a donor (alive or deceased), the person becomes legible to become a donor. There has been organ donation from a six-week-old child too in India.
Religion and Organ donation
Many people have personal beliefs against organ donation however most religions believe in organ donation. These religions have equated organ donation equal to charity and goodwill. There is special counseling provided by NOTTO through religious teachers to provide correct knowledge to the prospective donor.
Criteria for a recipient
The recipient of an organ from a deceased person is never told the details of the donor or family. Also, the family of the donor is not informed bout the recipient. Besides this, a strict list is maintained by NOTTO as part of information dealing with the waiting list which comes under RTI. It is incorrect to believe that the rich and famous will get any priority as recipients.
NGOs helping to become a donor
Various NGOs are working towards spreading the awareness as well as registering to become a donor. A few of them are as under:-
- Mohan Foundation: http://mohanfoundation.org/
- Shatayu: http://shatayu.org.in/
- Gift Your organ: http://giftyourorgan.org/
- Gift a Life: http://giftalife.org//
Few statements of a family member of the deceased donors
“I want my son to live forever.”
“My father can see me again.”
“My mother taught me how to save lives, she left us but saved 8 lives.”
“Life is eternal so will be my existence.”