TODAY -

Organ Donation : The seven common questions !

Dr Sanjeev Gulati *



The World Organ Donation day is celebrated every year on the 13th August to sensitise people theneedto donate organs and save lives. As per the statistics, in our country three people die of road accidents every 10 minutes; besides their are several thousands of deaths due to medical causes in young patients.

On the other hand, it's an irony that there is a humongous list of potential organ transplant patients for liver, kidney, heart, pancreas, intestine, heart valves, eyes etc. India has the dubious distinction of the world"s highest road traffic accident rates and yet having the lowest organ donation rate.

One of the primary reasons is the lack of awareness among the common man about the process of organ donation and the prevalence of numerous myths. Unless these are adequately addressed the organ donation rate in our country will not improve.

Here I discuss the 7 common questions regarding Organ Donation

1. Does my religion permit me to donate my organs? This issue has been discussed with priests from all religions in several seminars and all have unanimously concluded that no religion bars organ donation either during the lifetime or after brain death.

2. Can organs be harvested after death of a person ? Once a person dies and the heart stops the organs become useless. The organs can only be removed after brain death i.e when the brain functions are gone but the heart is still beating which usually happens in Intensive care units.

The only organ that can be harvested after death is cornea and that too within 6 hours. All other organs have to be taken once the donor is brain dead but the heart is still beating. Hence it is important to pledge your organs while you are alive so that they can be quickly removed in the unfortunate event of brain death.

3. Does the body get disfigured and mutilated during the process of removal of organs after brain death ? The process of removal of organs is carried out by experts in an operation theater and the surgical incision that is given is neatly stitched back and there is no mutilation of the body.

4. Can I buy an organ (liver/kidney) for my family member ? The process of organ donation in our country is regulated by the Human Organ Transplantation Act which prohibits the sale and purchase of organs. As per the Act only near relatives of the patients can donate organs to them. Thus sale and purchase of orgas is prohibited and is a punishable offence.

5. Will I become handicapped/weak if I donate my kidney? Research has shown that most living donors remain just as healthy after donation as people who have not donated. Kidney donors are not more likely to get disease after donating provided all the pre transplant screening tests are clear. For most donors the remaining kidney compensates for the other one and works fine for the rest of their lives. Few kidney donors might get high blood pressure or protein leakage in the future.

6. If I donate my organ I will be unable to start my family ? A woman and man who donate a kidney can still have children. It is advised that a woman wait one year after donation before getting pregnant so that her body is recovered completely.

7. My parents/relatives are more than 60 years of age too old to donate organs. The health of the donor and his organs is more important than the chronological age of the donor. If all the pre transplant screening tests are fine then the person can donate his /her kidney . The oldest donor in my experience has been 73 years.


* Dr Sanjeev Gulati wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer is Principal Director, Nephrology and Kidney Transplant Fortis Gp, NCR and president elect Indian Society of Nephrology
This article was posted on August 14, 2022.


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