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Centre to expand list of 'near relatives' for organ donation in order to save more lives
In a bid to relax the norms of organ donating, the Union Health Ministry might soon expand the definition of "near relatives" in the organ donation law. This will help in increasing the chances of securing an organ and thus save more lives.

As per reports, the ministry is looking at adding the following six new categories of relatives to the Human Organs and Tissues Transplantation Act, 1994 (amended in 2011):

Step father & step mother

  • Step brother, step sister, step son, step daughter and their spouses

  • Spouses of sons and daughters of the recipient of the organ

  • Brothers and sisters of recipient's spouse and their spouses

  • Brothers and sisters of recipient's parents and their spouses

  • First cousins [having common grandparent(s)] of the recipient and their spouses

  • But before it would go ahead with the changes in the law, the ministry has sought comments from the public on the proposed law. The last date to offer comments on the proposed law is September 25.

    As per the existing norms, only spouse, son, daughter, father, mother, brother, sister, grandfather, grandmother, grandson, or granddaughter can donate organs as these are the only relations that have been included in the category of 'near relatives.' And once a near relative is willing to donate an organ, he or she needs to be in a healthy condition and then the blood group needs to match. Thus with every step, the chances grow lesser and lesser.

    But with there being a huge gap in the number of organs needed and the number of organs required, the need for widening the scope was found. While expanding the scope, the biggest challenge is to verify the authenticity of the donor being a 'near relative'. So as the scope of the law is widened, it also becomes necessary to ensure the requisite checks and balances are maintained to avoid misuse of law and commercialisation of organ donation.

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