File image of an organ transplant at the Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi in 2018. Image Credit: Courtesy: Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi

Dubai: If you would like to register as an organ donor in the UAE, the country’s laws and processes make it easy for citizens and residents to pledge their intention.

In the UAE, Federal Decree Law No. 5 of 2016 on Regulation of Human Organs and Tissue Transplantation regulates organ transplant operations as well as the process of donating organs and tissues, and the conditions that need to be made for a live or deceased person to donate organs and tissues.

The country also has a National Programme for Organ Transplantation, led by the Ministry of Health and Prevention (MOHAP) which facilitates the process. Under the programme, MOHAP has built a national donors’ registry, with the information linked to a person’s Emirates ID. Anyone in the UAE regardless of nationality can become a donor or recipient of an organ during a transplant surgery.

Conditions for living donors

Donation by living donors is restricted to relatives within the fourth degree and couples married for at least two years. While living donors can unconditionally backtrack on their decision at any time; they may not recover a donated organ once it is removed, according to the legislative guidelines.

Conditions for deceased donors

For a deceased donor, it is not permissible to remove an organ unless the donor’s wish is conclusively confirmed before death and formally documented either by the notary public or through the Emirates ID card. Additionally, organ removal can only be done following a confirmation of death by the competent health authorities.

By law, the identity of both the donor and recipient must remain confidential.

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Want to register as an organ donor? Your Emirates ID is enough

Under the National Programme, MOHAP has built the Hayat platform – hayat in Arabic means life. To register as an organ donor, you need to follow these steps:

1. Download the Ministry of Health and Prevention’s ‘Hayat UAE’ app. Hayat is Arabic for life. The app is available for Apple and Android phones.

2. Select ‘Register as a donor’.

3. Enter your full name, email address, mobile number and Emirates ID number.

4. You will receive a one-time password as an SMS on your registered mobile number for verification purposes.

5. You will then receive a link via email to complete the registration process.

6. Provide the following details:

• Gender

• Age

• Blood group

• Set a password

7. You will then be provided with a copy of Federal Law No. (5) for the year 2016 regarding regulation of Human Organs and Tissue Transplant. Make sure you read the regulations well before signing to confirm.

8. You will then be asked to provide a digital signature.

9. Click on ‘I hereby confirm approval of UAE Organ Donation terms & conditions.’

This is part of MOHAP’s initiative to link registered organ donors with hospitals and organ donation centres, to facilitate organ donation in the UAE. Once you have registered as a donor, you will be contacted by the registered health service providers to confirm details of your pledge and connect you with patients who are in need of a transplant.