1. What is the difference between Organ donation and organ transplantation?
- The literal meaning of Organ donation is to give your organs willingly to the medical institutes, particular patients in need or organ banks. And organ transplantation is a medical procedure through which the organ from a live body is replaced with another vital organ using various surgical procedures. Organ donation and organ transplantation are related but not always combined. A person can donate organs after his or her death and those functional organs can be used for transplantation after tests. Please note that the vital organs cannot be kept outside the body for a longer duration and need to transplant as soon as possible.
2. When, how and at what age can one donate their organ?
- For organ donation, a person should be an adult (at least 18 years old). The procedure includes filling of form and its submission. In that form, you need to fill your personal details like age, address, medical condition (if any), organs you want to donate, etc. This form also asks for 2 witnesses from your side. Once this filled form is received by the specific hospital, they will send you an organ donation card with contact details of the hospital where you want to donate your organs. At the time of your death (brain dead), your family members need to contact them for body/ Organ collection on an urgent basis.
3. What are the procedures (legal and hospital formalities) to be an organ donor?
- In 1994, The Transplantation of Human Organ and Tissue Act was passed with a purpose to regulate and manage the organ and tissue donation for therapeutic and medical reasons for not for commercial benefits.
The procedure is very simple. As mentioned in the above answer, the donor just needs to fill up the form with the details of 2 adult witnesses and submit it. No medical check-ups are required for this. All the tests are done during transplantation procedures. The family also needs to give consent for organ donation, especially in the case of a brain dead person. As the doctor receives information about organ donation, he contacts the recipient or patient with organ failure to reach the hospital. The organ then gets retrieved from the body of the donor and then gets transplanted into the recipient body after checking its compatibility.
4. What organs can be donated and when can these organs be donated?
- Most of the body organs including heart can be donated now. One of the 2 functional kidneys and liver can be donated when you are alive as your body can work normally with a single healthy kidney also and the liver can re-grow back to normal. All other organs are donated at the time of death (mostly brain dead) but must be done within a short period. Different body organs have different time span or viability in which they need to be removed from the body after death and can be preserved alive for transplantation. The heart can be transplanted within 4-6 hours, the liver can be transplanted within 6-12nhours, and kidneys are viable up to 30 hours after retrieval from the body. The intestines and pancreases need to transplant within 6 hours. Normally, Kidney, Liver, Lungs, Heart, Intestine and Pancreases can be donated but many people donate their whole body for medical colleges.
If the whole body is donated, tissues can also be used to transplantations and these include cornea tissues from eyes, bones, veins, skin, tendons, etc. Please note that in India, the case of organ donation after heart arrest is very rare.
5. What care should one take for Organ donation and organ transplantation?
- For organ donation, the family of the organ donor must be aware of this and at the time of death, they must contact the hospital team to collect the body immediately. The hospital team will come at the earliest and will take the body to hospital. They the expert doctors will check the functional organs (depending upon the cause of death) and will preserve them for transplantation.
6. Does any religion has restrictions in donating the organ, if yes, why?
-Most of the religions have restrictions in donating organs because every religion has its own defined last rituals and these rituals are must for the peace of soul. In the case of natural death, many families even deny postmortem for the same reason.
7. Any other details needed for the same.
- You may have the contact details for organ donation-
i) Mohan Foundation- It has many centers in India (Organ Donation Helpline - 1800 1037100)
ii) King Edward Memorial Hospital, Mumbai (Tel.: 91-22-24107000)
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