World Organ Donation Day: Know History, Significance And Myths

Anyone who is not suffering from any chronic diseases like HIV, cancer, or any heart and lung disease can volunteer to be an organ donor irrespective of their age, caste, and religion.

By Anushka Vats
Updated: Fri, 12 Aug 2022 05:27 PM IST
Minute Read
World Organ Donation Day: Know History, Significance And Myths

World Organ Donation Day is observed every year on August 13 in order to raise awareness regarding the significance of organ donation and address debunk myths related to donating organs.

People, on this day, are encouraged to donate their healthy organs once they die, so that the lives of people who are much in need of it can be saved. Organs like kidneys, heart, pancreas, eyes, lungs, etc can be donated to people suffering from severe illnesses as several people lose their lives.


The first successful organ transplant took place in 1954 in the United States. It was done by Dr Joseph Murray who was also awarded Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine in 1990 for successfully carrying out a kidney transplant between twin brothers Ronald and Richard Herrick.

Who Can Donate Organ?

Anyone who is not suffering from any chronic diseases like HIV, cancer, or any heart and lung disease can volunteer to be an organ donor irrespective of their age, caste, and religion. A person can sign up to be a donor once they reach 18 years of age.

Types Of Organ Donation:

There are two types of organ donation. Live donation and cadaver donation. Human beings can survive with one kidney and the liver is the only organ in the body that is known to regenerate itself, making it possible for these organs to be transplanted while the donor is still alive. meanwhile, cadaver donation is done once the donor has died. After that the healthy organs are transplanted to a living person.

Myths About Organ Donation:

Dr Sanjeev Gulati who is the Principal Director at Nephrology and Kidney Transplant, Fortis Hospital Vasant Kunj debunk ten common myths about organ donation. Let's take a look.

1. Organ Donation Is Banned In Any Religion?

Saving a life is a noble cause and every religion in the world supports the cause. In numerous joint seminars held by religious groups, all have unanimously concluded that no religion bars organ donation either during the lifetime or after brain death.

2. Organs Can Be Transplanted After Death Of A Person:

Once a person dies and the heart stops the organs become useless. The organs can only be removed after brain death i.e., when the brain functions are gone but the heart is still beating which usually happens in Intensive care units. The only organ that can be harvested after death is the cornea and that too within 6 hours.

3. The Body Gets Disfigured And Mutilated After Donation Of Organs After Brain Death:

The process of removal of organs is carried out by experts in an operation theater and the surgical incision that is given is neatly stitched back and there is no mutilation of the body.

4. One Can Buy An Organ For his/Her Family Member:

The process of organ donation in our country is regulated by the Human Organ Transplantation Act which prohibits the sale and purchase of organs. As per the act only near relatives of the patients can donate organs to them. This sale and purchase of organs is prohibited and is a punishable offense.

5. Donating Organs Makes The Person Weak:

Research has shown that most living donors – over 200,000 so far – remain just as healthy after donation as people who have not donated. Kidney or liver donors are not more likely to get the disease after donating provided all the pre-transplant screening tests are clear. For most donors, the remaining kidney /liver works fine for the rest of their lives. Some kidney donors might get high blood pressure or protein leakage in the future.

6: It's Not Possible To Start a Family After Organ Donation:

A woman and man who donate a kidney may still have children. It is advised that a woman wait one year after donation before getting pregnant so that her body is recovered completely.

7. A Female Organ Cannot Be Transplanted Into A Male And Vice Versa:

This is not true as the liver and kidneys of a male and female are similar and can be transplanted safely from one to another.

8. Children Cannot Donate Organs:

Anyone can pledge to donate organs after death. In the case of children, the parents can consent to donate organs and they can be transplanted into adults. The decision to accept an organ is taken by medical experts after proper tests to ensure that there are no medical risks to the living donor. In cadaveric donation, the decision is based on medical tests that establish that the organs are fit to be harvested.

9. Children Need Organs Of Child Donors:

Organs from adult donors can be transplanted safely into children. For living donors, children are not allowed to donate organs till they attain the age of consent.

10. People Aging MoreThan 60 Years Cannot Donate Organs:

The health of the donor and his organs is more important than the chronological age of the donor. If all the pre-transplant screening tests are fine, then the person can donate his /her kidney. The oldest donor in my experience has been 73 years.

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