Transplantation of Human Organs (Amendment) Bill

The Rajya Sabha on Friday passed the Transplantation of Human Organs (Amendment) Bill, which has already been passed by the Lok Sabha.

The Act is to regulate removal, storage and transplantation of human organs and tissues . This amendment will result in widening options for human organ transplants and making mandatory for medical staff to request relatives of brain dead patients for organ donation. This will also make it mandatory for all registered hospitals for organ retrieval and transplantation to appoint a transplant coordinator to interact with the kin of brain dead patients.

This amendment also provides for inclusion of grandparents and grandchildren in the list of near relatives, who can be receivers and donors. Earlier, the list included only spouse, son, daughter, father, mother and sister.

The Bill, which had already got the Lok Sabha's nod, seeks stringent punishment of up to 10 years' imprisonment and a fine of up to Rs 1 crore (from Rs 10 lakh) for illegal human organ and tissue transplantation.

Relatives, as defined in the list of donors, of one patient can swap vital organs with that of another patient to overcome incompatibility. The agreement between the two sets has to be approved by an authorization committee.

A national registry of donors and recipients will also be maintained. Barring exceptional cases with government permission, no organ can be removed from a minor.

Organs which can be transplanted include kidney, liver, heart, lung, pancreas, cornea and bones. About cornea, the minister said, the Bill provides that it can be inoculated by a certified eye technician because eye surgeons may not be always available for the task.

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