Striving for transparency

Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

the Union health ministry is considering two major amendments to the Human Organ Transplant Act. It plans to exclude 'spouse' and instead include grandparents in the definition of near-relatives under the Act and the other to ban transplant of human organs for foreign nationals. The exclusion of spouse, specifically wife, was being considered in the context of the prevailing gender equation in society. It was felt that there was the possibility of undue pressure being applied on a woman to donate to her husband against her will.

Under the Act, if the donor was not a close-relative, the organs would be removed only with the approval of the authorisation committee. Exclusion of the wife from the category of near-relative will not prevent her from donation to her husband, if she really wills. The plan seeks to make the process of donation more transparent by subjecting it to screening by the authorisation committee. The prohibition on transplant for foreign nationals is being considered on the ground that otherwise the very basic purpose of the Act -- to check dealing in organs for commercial benefit -- might be defeated.

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