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Who can be a Donor?

Anyone from a child to an old person can be a donor. Even if you have had a serious illness in the past you can become a donor.

Can people buy or sell organs?

No. The “Transplantation Human Organs Act” prohibits any commercial dealings in organs and makes this a punishable offence.

Does organ donation leave the body disfigured?

No. The recovery of organs is carried out by well trained surgeons with the greatest care and does not disfigure the body or change the way it looks.

Are there any religious objections to organ donation?

Most of the religious groups support the concept of organ donation. However, you can discuss it with your spiritual or religious leader.

How is eye donation different from donation of other organs?

Eyes should be donated within six hours after death. However, to be useful, kidneys have to be harvested within half an hour of death. Both these organs, along with others, can also be retrieved under different circumstances.

What are these different circumstances?

In 1968, doctors in Harvard found that deeply comatose patients, who had sustained brain injury, never regained consciousness. Although their heart continued to beat and kept their blood circulation going, these patients were clinically dead. If their breathing support machines were stopped, the heart stopped due to brain death. A new definition of death emerged. As this death was under controlled circumstances (that is, in the intensive care unit of hospitals), it was possible to retrieve some of their organs such as Kidneys, Heart and Liver after their relatives consented. In the West, the transplantation of organs from brain dead patients is an accepted part of medical treatment. The Government of India has now accepted this new definition of death.

How do doctors know ‘A Brain Dead’ patient is really dead?

Two doctors from a panel recommended by the government, who are not involved in the treatment of the patient and also from a different hospital carry out a series of tests to confirm that a patient is “Brain stem dead”. The standards are very strict and are accepted medically, legally and ethically all over the world.

How does brain death occur?

Brain death usually results from a severe brain injury or brain haemorrhage that causes all the brain activity to stop. This can happen after a major road accident or bleeding in the brain due to a stroke.