1. Can I decide to whom I want my organs to be donated?
Organs donated under HOTA are intended for donation to the common pool of patients on the respective organ transplant waiting lists. It is therefore neither possible to specify the recipients of organs recovered under HOTA, nor specifically exclude certain people from receiving organs. It is also not possible to release donor information to organ recipients.
2. Will my body be disfigured after organ donation?
The donor’s body will always be cared for with the utmost respect by the transplant team. The same surgical standards being applied to any living person undergoing surgery will also be applied to organ donors. Any incisions made during the removal of organs are carefully repaired after the procedure. In the case of cornea donation, only the cornea (the front part of the eye the size and shape of a contact lens) is removed and a plastic cap is inserted afterwards. The eye remains otherwise intact.
3. Will the medical care of potential organ donors be compromised to expedite the recovery of organs?
Medicine is an ethical profession. No doctor would risk one life to save another. Every patient is given full medical care and every chance at survival irrespective of suitability and acceptance of organ donation. Organ donation is only considered after death has been declared by two independent doctors who are not involved in the care of the patient.
4. Would relatives of donors be made to pay for the costs of organ recovery?
The hospital bills for any organ donation-related procedures and tests are not charged to the donor’s family.
5. If I have not opted out of HOTA, and I die at home, will my body be brought to hospital for transplantation purposes?
No, HOTA only applies to death in hospitals which fulfil specific conditions.
6. If I have not opted out of HOTA, and I die in the hospital, will my organs be recovered for transplantation?
Organs will be recovered only if the following conditions are fulfilled:
- The donor is 21 years old and above, is not mentally disordered, and is not a registered objector.
- The donor’s organs are suitable for transplantation.
- There is a suitable recipient(s) to benefit from the organ(s) recovered.
7. How will the suitability and allocation of organs from older donors be determined?
There are internationally established protocols for evaluating organs from older donors to ensure the suitability of the organs for transplantation. To ensure optimum transplant outcomes, the allocation of organs will depend on the medical evaluation of organs and clinical parameters, such as blood group and tissue matching with potential recipients.
8. Are older organs suitable for donation?
With increasing life expectancy, healthier ageing and improvement in health technology, it is now becoming clearer that the condition of an internal organ is not always linked to age. Hence, most countries no longer have an upper age limit for organ donation.
9. Will older organ failure patients waiting for an organ also benefit from these changes?
The upper age limit of 60 years for patients to be placed on the kidney transplant waiting list has been removed. This would mean that elderly patients suffering from organ failure will now have an opportunity to benefit from organ transplant if they are medically suitable.
10. Will HOTA apply to citizens who passed away in a foreign country?
HOTA does not apply to deaths that occur overseas.