Organ Transplantation laws in India

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The legislation called the Transplantation of Human Organ Act (THO) was passed in India in 1994 to streamline organ donation and transplantation activities. Broadly, the act accepted cerebral death as a type of death and made the sale of organs a punishable offence. With the acceptance of death, it became possible to not only undertake kidney transplants but also start other solid organ transplants like liver, heart, lungs, and pancreas. Despite the THO legislation, organ commerce and kidney scandals are regularly reported within the Indian media. In most instances, the implementation of the law has been flawed and more often than once its provisions are abused. Parallel to the living related and unrelated donation program, the deceased donation program has slowly evolved during a few states. 

In approximately one-third of all liver transplants, the organs have come from the deceased donor program as have all the hearts and pancreas transplants. In these states, some hospitals together with committed NGOs have kept the momentum of the deceased donor program. The MOHAN Foundation (NGO based in the province and Andhra Pradesh) has facilitated 400 of the 1,300 deceased organ transplants performed within the country over the last 14 years. To beat organ shortage, developed countries are re-looking at the ethics of unrelated programs and there seems to be a move towards making this an appropriate legal alternative. the provision of deceased donors in these countries has peaked and there has been no further increase over the previous few years. India is currently having a deceased donation rate of 0.05 to 0.08 per million population. we'd like to seek out an answer on how we will utilize the possibly large pool of trauma-related brain deaths for organ donation. 

This year within the state of province, the govt. has passed seven special orders. These orders are expected to streamline the activity of deceased donors and help increase their numbers. Recently, on July 30, 2008, the govt. brought in an exceedingly few new amendments as a Gazette with the aim of putting a stop to organ commerce. The ethics of commerce in organ donation and transplant tourism has been widely criticized by international bodies. The legal and ethical principles that we follow universally with organ donation and transplantation are important for the long run as these could also be wont to resolve our conflicts associated with emerging sciences like cloning, tissue engineering, and stem cells.

Kidney transplants in India first started within the 1970s and since that point, India has been a number one country during this field on the Asian sub-continent. The evolutionary history of transplants within the last four decades has witnessed a special facet of transplant emerging in each decade. the primary 10 years were spent mastering the surgical techniques and immune-suppression. Its success resulted in a very phenomenal rise within the numbers of transplants within the next 10 years and unrelated kidney donation from economically weaker sections started happening with commerce in organ donation becoming a suitable integral part of the program. 

After this was accepted, the ethics of transplants in India has always been on a slippery slope and every one styles of nefarious activities were accepted as normal practice. the overall dictum was “when you'll buy one why donate?” the following 10 years saw an outcry from the physicians of the western world at the growing numbers of those exploitative transplants being wiped out India. there have been also protests from many sections in India. The pressure on the govt. saw the passing of the Transplantation of Human Organ Act (THO) legislation that made unrelated transplants illegal and deceased donation a legal option with the acceptance of cerebral death. Overcoming organ shortage by tapping into the pool of brain-dead patients was expected to curb the unrelated transplant activity.

The last decade has seen the struggle of the deceased donation program evolve in India. Simultaneously, it's witnessed the living donation program being marred with constant kidney scandals. In most instances, the donor accused the recipient or the center man of getting not compensated them with the promised sum. It also saw liver, heart, and pancreas transplants from deceased donors. Although the history of cadaver transplants in India is recent, the primary attempts to use a cadaver donor's kidney were undertaken in 1965 in Mumbai. The author describes the medical and social problems they faced. The medical problems included technical difficulties in engrafting, immunological problems, and infection. However, it had been the hostile reaction from some members of the medical community and therefore the general public that was a more daunting task to tackle. the full process was described by some as neo-cannibalism. This was a setback for the cadaver program for not only Mumbai but also the remainder of the country.

In India, despite the THO act, neither has the commerce stopped nor have the quantity of deceased donors increased to require care of organ shortage.The concept of death has never been promoted or widely publicized. Most unrelated transplants currently are being done under the cloak of legal authority from an authorization committee. The few deceased donations that are going down are thanks to the efforts of some Non Government Organizations (NGO) or hospitals that are highly committed to the cause. Recently, the govt has come under much criticism by the general public and media and has added some legislations within the style of a Gazette to curb the illegal unrelated donation activities and has tried to plug the loopholes within the THO act.

To an outsized extent, the failure of the THO act has been due to the way it's been interpreted and implemented by authorities and hospitals.

Advisory Committee

Constituted under the chairmanship of administrative expert, who isn't below the rank of the Secretary to the authorities for a period of two years to help. 

Along with him/her, two medical examiners possessing a medical postgraduate degree, with not but 5 years of labor experience within the field of organ or tissue transplantation. 

Committee’s purpose is to help and advise the acceptable authority (AA).

Authorization Committee (AC)

The purpose of this committee is to just accept or reject the appliance of donors (other than relatives) to make sure that he/she isn't being exploited for monetary consideration by making a donation.

The AC scrutinizes the joint application made by the donor and therefore the recipient and conducts an interview ensure|to confirm} there's a real intention among them both and make sure that the donor understands the potential risks of the surgery.

A hospital can have its own AC if they perform over 25 transplants per annum.

Appropriate Authority (AA)

Appropriate Authority’s purpose is to manage human organs:




The hospitals can only perform these functions after being licensed by the authorities.

2. However, the procedure of removal of the eyes of a dead donor isn't required and isn't governed by the authority and doesn't require licensing procedures. 

3. The functions of the AA include:

Inspection and registration of hospitals for transplant surgery,

Enforcement of required standards for the hospital,

Conduct regular inspection of the hospital to look at the standard of transplantation and follow up treatment of donor and recipient, and

Conduct an investigation for any breach of the Act.

4. The AA issues a license to a hospital for a period of 5 years and afterward it must be renewed. Each organ requires a separate license.

Competent Authority

It means the top or committee made by the institute polishing off the transplantation.

Any member from the transplant team may be its member. It gives permission for the near-related transplants only.

Punishment under the Act

As per Section 18 of this Act, somebody who is liable for the removal of a person's organ/tissue with the authority of doing so is punished with imprisonment which might be 10 years and with fine which might touch Rs. 20 lakhs. just in case that person could be a medical professional, his name are reported by the AA to the State Medical Council to require appropriate action including removing his name from the register of the council for 3 years for the primary offense and if he/she commits an offense subsequently, then remove it permanently.

As per the Section 19, if any individual involves himself/herself within the commercial dealing of human organs then such person will be punished with imprisonment for a term not but 5 years but can be 10 years and can even be chargeable for a fine which is able to not be but Rs. 20 lakhs but can reach Rs. 1 crore.

As per Section 20. If anyone violates the other provision of this act, he/she may be punished with imprisonment for a term which may touch 5 years or with fine which can reach Rs. 20 lakhs. 

The THO act despite having been passed 15 years ago has neither curbed commerce in organs nor helped promote the deceased donation program to require care of the organ shortage. The gap between the numbers of organs available and also the number of patients joining the roster for a kidney transplant is widening globally. The high demand of organs has led to its commodification, more so in countries where there's an outsized proportion of the population below the poverty level with weak regulatory authorities. The resulting transplant tourism has caused an outcry from many international bodies. In India, the potential for deceased donation is large because of the high number of fatal road traffic accidents and this pool is yet to be tapped. Few hospitals and committed NGOs within the country have shown deceased donation as a feasible option. The ethics of kidney donation has important bearings on society as this may form the idea to resolve many conflicts in emerging regenerative sciences.