Explained: Why must India have a National Registry of Voluntary Organ Donors?

News:Recently,Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed the Centre to implement the Transplant of Human Organs and Tissues Act,1994 and to also consider the recommendations of an Expert Committee.


About the Transplant of Human Organs and Tissues Act,1994:

  • The act governs the transplantation of human organs and tissues in India including the donation of organs after death.The act also legalised the concept of brain death.
  • It also prevents commercial dealings in human organs.It has a provision of imprisonment up to 10 years and a fine up to Rs. 20 lakh for removal of organs without authority.
  • In 2016, public interest petitions were filed in the Punjab High Court, seeking effective implementation of the law.This led to the setting up of a Committee to give suggestions for an effective implementation of the law.

What did the committee said?

  • The committee has recommended the creation of a ‘National Registry of Voluntary Organ Donors’.
  • The registry may be based on a unique national ID number given by the National Organ & Tissue Transplant Organisation(NOTTO).
  • The database of all surgeons and medical experts sanctioned for transplantation should also be maintained.
  • It also recommended that the identity of the donor and the recipient be verified through a biometric system of authentication to prevent fabrication of identity or other fraud in the process.
  • Further,the committee has said that a donor card should be treated as a Living Directive for cadaver donations.
  • It has also said that mandatory informed consent should be taken in case of live donors after explaining to them the risks involved in donation surgery.
  • The Committee has also recommended that a lump sum monetary reimbursement be given to the donor towards expenses related to the transplantation and suggested a payment of at least Rs 50,000 at the time of discharge.

Additional information:

About National Organ & Tissue Transplant Organisation(NOTTO):

  • NOTTO is a National level organization set up under Directorate General of Health Services, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare,Government of India.
  • It functions as an apex centre for All India activities of coordination and networking for procurement and distribution of Organs and Tissues and registry of Organs and Tissues Donation and Transplantation in the country.