The organ transplantation surgery must take place in only MoH licensed centers, clinics and hospitals across the UAE, the circular states (Picture used for illustrative purposes) Image Credit: Jupiter images

Abu Dhabi: The UAE has approved transplant of organs from live or dead donors other than the relatives of the recipient, the Ministry of Health said.

The written consent of the donor and/or his first and second degree relatives is mandatory if the organs are transplanted after the donor's death, a circular from the ministry said.

The relatives also reserve the right to donate organs if the donor had not provided written consent prior to death, the circular issued on May 16 said.

A healthy individual can donate organs if he or she presents signed written consent attested by two witnesses. The circular does not specify which organs a live donor could donate.

Who can donate

Live donors have to be over 21 years of age and must be in a stable physical condition. They should also have the same blood type as the recipient.

The earlier federal law only permitted organ donation from first and second degree relatives.

The UAE Health Council, at a meeting chaired by Health Minister Dr Hanif Hassan on April 22, reviewed the earlier organ transplantation law, a statement sent by the Abu Dhabi Health Services Company said.

The revised law enables the transplant of organs, including liver, lungs, pancreas and heart, after a person's death.

Dr Ali Abdul Kareem Al Obaidli, Chair of the National Organ Transplant Committee, Consultant Nephrology and Kidney Transplantation at Shaikh Khalifa Medical City, and Chief Clinical Officer for the Abu Dhabi Health Services Company, called organ transplantation "one of the medical miracles of the 21st century that has prolonged and improved the lives of thousands of patients worldwide."

Circular

According to circular number 566/2010, sent by the Ministry of Health (MoH) issued May 16, a person who wishes to donate his/her kidney, liver, lung, pancreas and heart for use in a transplantation surgery, is allowed to do so given that he/she provides a written consent and approval, before death. The donors consent letter must be accompanied by two other signatures and approvals from two mentally fit witnesses.

The circular also states that after an individual’s death, his/her first and second relatives have the right to donate his/her organs after death even if the donor did not provide a written will regarding the matter prior to his/her death.

Even though the circular does not specify which organs they will be able to give the patient, live donors will also be able to donate an organ given that they have the same blood type as the patient, and are in a stable mental and physical condition.

In addition, the live donor must undergo full mental and physical medical screening and checkup, to make sure the surgery does not jeopardize his/her health, or can result in any health risks.

Donors and/or first and second degree relatives are allowed to change their minds regarding an organ transplantation right before a surgery, specified the MoH circular.

The organ transplantation surgery must take place in only MoH licensed centers, clinics and hospitals across the UAE, the circular states.

Will you consider donating your organs? What are your biggest concerns regarding organ transplant?