Organ Donation India

Everything you need to know about the Organ Donation in India

On 13th August India will be celebrating Organ Donation Awareness Day. Awareness about this vital aspect of our life is important. India is the 2nd highest populated country in the world. But only 0.5 person per million donates Organs as per 2013 survey.

In the USA 26 people per million donate the organ and in Croatia (which become famous during the last world cup), about 37 people per million donate their Organs. The population of Croatia is only 4 million people. The population of India is 1300 million people.

Why we need Organ Donation to accelerate?

India needs 2,00,000 Cornea donations every year, we get 50,000 donations,

India needs 2,20,000 kidneys, kidneys donated is 5,000, India needs 5,000 hearts, hearts donated is 70, India needs 2,00,000 liver, liver donated is 750.

5 Lakh people die due to the non-availability of Organs.

Organ WHich can be donated?

FAQs on Organ Donation:

  1. What is organ donation?

Organ donation is a gracious act which provides an opportunity to save many lives after our death. The donated organs are transplanted into patients who are suffering from end-stage organ failure. It gives a chance for second life in such patients.

  1. Who can donate Organs?

A person who has met with a fatal head injury and is declared brain dead by a board of medical experts can donate organs. In India, a panel of 4 doctors is required to certify whether a person is brain dead.

Brain death, technically referred to as brain-stem death, occurs when the whole brain dies. It is the irreversible end of all brain activity.

If the body of a brain-dead person is kept on a ventilator, the heart may continue to beat for 2-3 days and keep vital organs such as the liver and kidney alive for this time period. These organs can be surgically removed for donation.

Living people too can donate organs in a limited way.

There is a misconception that after the death Organs can be donated by anyone. The fact is after the cardiac death only skin, eyes, and heart valves can be donated.  Donation of vital organs is not possible once the heart stops beating.

Vital organ donation is possible only when the person is in the hospital, on a ventilator and brain death happens.

The good news is anyone from the newborn to the 95-year-old can donate the organs.

  1. Is there any chance of survival of a brain-dead individual? 

No. Brain death individual is dead and cannot be revived. Brain death is as good as dead. Traditionally, we understand heart stopping to beat as death. The brain controls the functioning of the heart and lungs. Once the brain is dead, the heart and lungs will automatically stop functioning, unless they are kept working with medications and machines temporarily.

  1. Is brain death different from a vegetative state?

Yes. Brain death is different from a vegetative state. In a vegetative state, the heart and lungs are functioning independently, but the brain is severely damaged (not dead), and though the person is in a wakeful state, he is not aware of the surroundings

  1. Which Organs can be donated?

Organs like the heart, liver, kidneys, tissues, skin, corneas and bone marrow, can be donated.

These organs have a limited lifespan outside the body.

Heart 4-6 hours
Liver 12-24 hours
Kidney 48-72 hours
Heart 4-6 hours
Lung 4-6 hours

The different organs that can be transplanted depend on the type of organ transplant i.e. whether the donor is alive or deceased.

  1. How can one donate Organs?

Ideally, a person should declare his intent to donate his Organs to his immediate family members. This helps the family members to take a quick decision on the death of the person.

There are many NGOs working to create awareness about this noble cause. They make the people who wish to donate their Organs to sign the pledge forms.

Thereafter on the brain death of the person, the Hospital is informed about the intent of the donor.  The hospital takes the necessary steps to successfully remove the Organs, identify the recipient from the waiting list.

There is no cost to the family members of the donor.

  1. Is organ donation legal?

Yes, it is legalized in India by “The Human Organ Transplantation Act” (HOTA).  This Act was passed in the year 1994. With this Act, brain death can be recognized and if consent is obtained, the organs of the brain-dead individual can be used for the purpose of the donation. It mainly covers three areas:

It recognizes brain stem death

It regulates removal, storage, and transplantation of organs

It prevents commercial dealings in human organs. No human organ can be bought or sold.

  1. Can organs be donated if death occurs at home?

No. The brain death individual’s vital organs have to be kept functioning by artificial means. Hence, the person has to be kept in ICU of the hospital. However, eyes can be donated up to 6 hours after the heart stops beating; hence this could be done even if the individual dies at home.

  1. Is the donor’s body given back to relatives?

Yes. The body is given back to relatives to perform the last rites, after the retrieval of organs. This is different than body donation where the whole body is given to an anatomy department of a Medical College for teaching purposes.

  1. Why should we donate organs?

Each year the need for organ transplant goes on increasing, as more and more cases of end-stage organ failure are detected. Majority of people die on the waiting list since they do not get the organs on time. Donation of an organ can be seen as a noble act where the person continues to live through his organs in another individual.

  1. Who can become an organ donor?
  •  Each individual is a prospective donor.
  • People with Cancer, Intravenous drug users, HIV positivity and severe sepsis cannot be considered for organ donation.
  • Patients infected with Hepatitis B/C can donate to a person affected with Hepatitis B/C respectively.
  • Cancer patients may donate corneas.
  • Brain tumor patients can donate all organs
  • The following are the approximate ages permissible for organ donation:
  • Till  40 years:   Heart valves
  • Till 50 years:    Heart, lungs
  • Till 70 years:    Kidneys, liver
  • Till 100 years:  Corneas, skin
  • Children can also donate organs
  1. How can one become an organ donor?

You can become an organ donor by signing an organ donor card. You must inform your close relatives about your wish, as their consent is required before retrieving the organs even if the donor has signed the donor card. The donor card has to be kept with the person who has signed it.

A child below 18 years age needs parent’s consent for organ donation. Children needing organ transplant need organs smaller than those an adult can provide.

The Transplantation of Human Organs Act allows the donation of organ and tissues for treatment purpose only. The Act states that it is mandatory that the next of kin (parents, spouse etc) should agree to donate the organs of a brain-dead family member.

  1. Are there any chances my organs might not go to those who have waited for the longest or are the neediest?

The rich and famous are not given priority when it comes to allocating organs. It may seem that way because of the amount of publicity generated when celebrities receive a transplant, but they are treated no differently from anyone else.

In fact, what really counts is the severity of illness, time spent waiting, blood type and other important medical information.

The organ allocation system is blind to wealth or social status. Factors such as race, gender, age, income, celebrity status are never considered when determining organ recipients.

  1. Organ donation will leave my body disfigured?

Organs are always removed with the greatest of care and respect for the person. This takes place in a normal operation theater under sterile conditions by a team of specialized doctors.

Afterward, the surgical incision is carefully closed and covered by a dressing in the normal way.

The operation is carried out by specialist healthcare professionals who always ensure that the donor is treated with the utmost respect and dignity.

  1. My religion does not support the idea of organ donation

None of the major religions in India object to organ donation and transplantation. If you have any doubts, you should discuss them with your spiritual or religious adviser.

Christianity views

Islam Views

Hindu Views by Sadguru

Jainism Views

Sikhism Views

  1. It is enough if I have a donor card?

No. Just having a donor card is not enough. You need to carry it at all times and also inform your relatives of your wishes so that they honour your wish at the moment of truth.

  1. Once I become an organ donor can I change my mind?

You always have the option to change your mind. You can withdraw your registration, tear up your organ donor card and let your family know that you have changed your mind.

  1. What impact does organ donation have on the recipients?

For patients with organ failure, the transplant provides a new life. Patients receiving heart, liver, kidneys, pancreas, or lung transplant, can return to a normal lifestyle. Cornea transplants offer the ability to see again.

  1. Is the identity of the recipient disclosed to the donor family?

No. The name and identity of the recipient is not given to the donor family and vice versa.

  1. Is any compensation or payment made to the donor family?

No. It is a pure donation and hence a noble act. However, the family is not charged for the investigations after the consent for organ donation is given.

  1. Can organs be sold?

No. The Transplantation of Human Organs Act makes it ILLEGAL to buy or sell human organs.


Each brain dead person can save seven lives. Donor’s heart, pancreas, and liver can one life each. Kidneys and lungs can save two lives each.

The donation of tissues such as corneas, skin, bone and heart valves can save up to 50 lives.

In fact, India holds Guinness Book world record for signing the highest number of pledge forms for organ donation. 11987 pledge forms were signed in just one hour.

Act TODAY. Declare your intent to the family members.

Source of these FAQs and visit for more information:

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You may like to read: My first experience with real-time CPR


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