Selection of Liver Donor – What do Indian Laws Say?

Liver transplant refers to a surgical procedure that involves the replacement of the diseased liver (obtained from a donor) with a healthy one. The need for a liver transplant may arise for a variety of reasons including, congenital disabilities of the liver or the bile ducts (such as biliary atresia, Liver damage (due to cirrhosis or primary biliary cirrhosis), long-term infection such as acute hepatitis, genetic abnormalities to name a few.

Premium-grade hospitals centers such as Medanta, Fortis, Max healthcare etc. have the expertise and necessary set of equipment to successfully perform a liver transplant in India. However, there are a few facts related to liver donation that one must be aware of before going for this procedure.

Facts Stated – Liver Donation in India

Mainly three types of organ donation are prevalent in India that can include:

1. Live relation donation – When a living person donates liver (or a part of the liver)to another person for transplantation, it is termed as a living donation. In live relation donation, the living donor can be the patient’s family member, such as a parent, brother, sister, grandparent etc.

2. Live Unrelated Donation – In this particular type, the living donor is not directly related to the patient but shares an emotional connect. For example, a close friend, a relative, a neighbor or an in-law can participate in living unrelated donation.

3. Deceased Cadaver Organ Donation – For this donation, the patient needs to register in a treatment facility that specializes in performing liver transplants. Initially, the patient is put on a wait list, and as soon as the liver from a suitable deceased donor (brain death) is available, he or she will be intimated.

Who can be a Donor?

To be a donor, there is a need to fulfill few criteria, such as

  • Your blood should be a good match with that of the recipients.
  • You should meet the expected age group requirements.
  • You need to be physically and Mentally healthy.
  • You should not Smoke.

What do the Indian laws say?

Though an individual above the age of 18 years can donate liver(or a part of the liver) legally, but in India, the liver donation is restricted to the family members such as mother father, son, sister, brother, daughter or close relatives as per Human organ Act 1996.

Clinically, the donor of the liver should have compatible blood group, one that matches with the blood group of the patient. Also, the donor should not be more than 55 years of age. Apart from this, the liver donor needs to be physically and psychologically fit and sound for which a thorough evaluation screening tests take place.

Some key Points

Cadaveric liver transplantation in India is comparatively less popular due to lack of cadaveric organ donation.

Though India’s has emerged as a hub for medical tourists from around the world, the awareness regarding liver donation is still in its infancy that makes living donor liver transplant the only solution for a majority of patients.

Since Liver transplant is a critical surgical procedure, the patient needs to evaluate its pros and cons before going for the transplant; risks and complications involved with the surgery should be taken into consideration.

After the surgery, most of the patients lead a healthy, normal and productive life provided the post-transplantation instructions are duly followed.