Organ donation: Step-parents, step-siblings to be defined as ‘near relative’

NEW DELHI, Sept 3:
In a move that is likely to benefit those awaiting organ donation, the government is planning to include step-parents, step-siblings and extended family members in the definition of ‘near relatives’.
The health ministry has put out a circular for amendment in the Human Organs and Tissues Transplantation Act 1994, as amended in 2011, to widen the definition of ‘near relatives’.
It has sought comments from the public till September 25.
According to a senior health ministry official, expanding the definition of the term would increase the availability of living donors in the country.
Initially, spouses, sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters were defined as ‘near relatives’ and could legally donate organs.
The government amended the Act in 2011 when grandfather, grandmother, grandson or granddaughter were included in the definition of ‘near relatives’.
The draft amendment observes that the 2011 expansion of definition of ‘near relatives’ has not led to any significant increase in the availability of living donors “as grandparents are either too old to donate or can’t donate due to some adverse medical condition”.
“And grandchildren are usually too young to donate organs,” the draft amendment reads.
“Thus, the demand for organs outweighs their supply,” it adds.
As per the circular, the ministry has been receiving a number of grievances concerning the Transplantation of Human Organs and Tissues Act, 1994, of which majority are requests for organs due to non-availability of ‘near relative’ donors or blood group mismatch with the near relative. The ministry has issued an email id amendmentthotairi@gmail.Com, where suggestions can be sent. (PTI)

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