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Organ donation in India

  • Published
    17th Feb, 2023

The Union Health Ministry has done away with the age cap of 65 years for receiving an organ from a dead donor, and guidelines are being revised to allow the elderly to register on waiting lists.


The numbers (Government data)

  • Organs from deceased donors accounted for nearly 8% of all transplants in 2022 in the country.
  • The number of transplants has increased over the years.
  • The total number of deceased organ transplants climbed from 837 in 2013 to 2,765 in 2022.
  • The total number of organ transplants – with organs from both deceased and living donors – increased from 4,990 in 2013 to 15,561 in 2022.
  • India conducts the third highest number of transplants in the world.
    • Every year, an estimated 1.5-2 lakh people need a kidney transplant. Only around 10,000 got one in 2022. Of the 80,000 people who required a liver transplant, less than 3,000 got one in 2022. And, of the 10,000 who needed a heart transplant.

Regulations pertaining to Organ donation

  • Organ donation in India is regulated by the Transplantation of Human Organs and Tissues Act (THOTA), 1994, which was amended in 2011. 
  • The Act made commercialisation of organs a punishable offence and also brought in the concept of brain death in India. 
  • The latter paved the way for deceased organ donation (retrieving organs from brain stem dead persons). 
  • Under the Act, the government has set up the National Organ and Tissue Transplant Organisation (NOTTO) as an apex centre for procurement and distribution of organs.
    • In addition, there are regional (ROTTO) and state transplant organisations (SOTTO).
  • The latter lists recipients and allocates organs in each state using an organ-sharing network.
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