Organ donation is the process of willingly giving one’s organs or tissues to another person who is in need of a transplant due to organ failure or a medical condition. This act of generosity can save lives and improve the quality of life for recipients. Here are some key points about organ donation that you might find helpful for an exam:
- Types of Organ Donation:
- Deceased Donation: Organs are donated by individuals who have passed away, typically due to brain death but with functioning organs. These organs are then transplanted into recipients.
- Living Donation: Living individuals can donate certain organs, such as kidneys or parts of the liver, to someone in need. Living donors can lead healthy lives with the remaining organ.
- Importance of Organ Donation:
- Organ donation saves lives. It can provide a new lease on life for individuals suffering from organ failure, such as heart, liver, kidney, or lung failure.
- It improves the quality of life for recipients who can return to a more active and healthy lifestyle after receiving a transplant.
- Organ Donation Process:
- Individuals can express their willingness to donate their organs by registering as donors in official organ donor registries or by stating their wishes on official identification documents like driver’s licenses.
- Family consent is often required for deceased organ donation, even if the deceased individual has expressed their wish to donate. Therefore, open communication with family is crucial.
- Ethical Considerations:
- Organ donation raises ethical questions about consent, especially when the donor is deceased. Ensuring clear communication about one’s wishes with family and healthcare providers is essential.
- Medical Compatibility:
- Transplants are more successful when there’s a good match between the donor and recipient in terms of blood type, tissue compatibility, and other factors.
- The immune system of the recipient needs to be carefully managed to prevent organ rejection.
- Global Challenges:
- There is often a shortage of organs available for transplant, leading to waiting lists and the need for increased awareness about the importance of donation.
- Public Awareness and Education:
- Raising awareness about organ donation is crucial to dispel myths, address concerns, and encourage more individuals to become donors.
8. Legislation and Regulations:
- Different countries have their own laws and regulations governing organ donation. These regulations are in place to ensure ethical and safe practices.
Remember that the specifics might vary based on your region or country, so it’s always a good idea to study relevant information for your area.
Issues Related to Organ Donation
India has a dismal 0.65 per million population (PMP) organ donation rate and around 5 lakh people die every year in India due to unavailability of organs.
- Infrastructure: There is a huge scarcity of Organ Transplant and Retrieval Centres in the country.
- There are just 301 hospitals equipped to handle the transplant process and only 250 of them have been registered with National Organ and Tissue Transplant Organisation (NOTTO).
- Currently, for organ transplants, there exists only 1 fully equipped hospital for around 43 lakh people.
- Trust Deficit: Altruistic donation has been the major source of organ transplants in the country. However, a false negative perception has been growing against private hospitals of their nexus related to organ transplants.
- A classic example of this negative publicity is seen in the steep drop in organ donation in Kerala — from 76 deceased donors in 2015 to 8 in 2018.
- Inequality and Accessibility: A majority of donors are from the lower middle class and below, while the majority of organ recipients are from the small number of persons who can afford transplant surgery and costly lifetime medication thereafter.
- An organ comes free, as donated to society, but the transplantation cost associated with it is around 5 to 25 lakh. This cost reduces the accessibility to organ transplants to the weaker section of society.
- The cost factor is the key reason why more than three-quarters of donated hearts and lungs do not get taken.
- Superstitions and Misconceptions: It is a common misconception that organ donation disfigures the deceased donor’s body, which prevents people from enrolling in the donation.
- The act recognizes brain death identified as a form of the death process and defines criteria for brain death.
- It provides regulatory and advisory bodies for monitoring transplantation activity.
- It also provides for the maintenance of a registry of donors and recipients of human organs and tissues.