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Living organ donation is well-established and viable, but donors in Singapore and neighbouring countries are few. For those who have stepped up, it has proved to be a fulfilling undertaking, even as edifying as it is for the recipients who receive this gift of a new lease of life.
At Mount Elizabeth Hospitals, your safety as a donor is paramount. Our transplant teams see you as a real person beyond the organ you are giving, so you can expect to be treated with the same respect and consideration that we accord to all of our patients.
Learn more about living donor regulations in Singapore, donor eligibility for living liver and kidney transplants, and what to consider before making the decision to donate.
Under the Human Organ Transplant Act (HOTA), it is illegal to buy or sell organs.
You should be free from pressure or guilt in making your donation, and you cannot be paid for making it. However, your health checks, laboratory tests, donation operation and follow-up medical visits can be reimbursed under HOTA. If you are self-employed or a daily-wage worker, you are also eligible for limited compensation for your loss of earnings.
Before a living donor transplant can proceed, a Transplant Ethics Committee (TEC) is required to evaluate and authorise the procedure. The TEC is a three-member team consisting of a doctor at our hospitals, an independent doctor, and a lay person responsible for evaluating the application. This scrutiny is necessary to make sure you are fully informed about the risks, as well as the present and future implications of your donation. The TEC will also address ethical concerns, as you should not be subject to any duress, undue influence or fraud in making your decision.
If the TEC approves the application for a living donor organ transplant, you will still have a 7-day cooling-off period to carefully reconsider and confirm your decision.
If you and the recipient are known to each other, you may approach our hospital's transplant services for guidance.
Altruistic donations to patients on the national kidney or liver waiting list can be registered with the National Organ Transplant Unit (NOTU). The associated costs in assessing your suitability for a living donor transplant will be borne by NOTU.
After an initial consultation with us, a series of stringent medical assessments will be made by our transplant team. Once everyone is assured that your well-being will not be compromised by the donation, we will seek authorisation from the TEC to proceed.
Organ donation surgery is a relatively safe surgery. However, as with any surgery, there are risks involved in donating an organ. Liver donations carry a higher risk of death and complications than kidney donations. Some potential risks include:
Generally, you can expect to lead life as normal once you have recovered from the donation procedure. Donating an organ will not affect a female donor’s ability to conceive.
You will need to undergo tests and screenings to determine if you are suitable to donate your liver to the recipient.
You may be eligible to donate your liver if you:
Find out more about living donor liver transplants as you consider your decision.
You will need to undergo tests and screenings to determine if you are suitable to donate your kidney to the recipient.
You may be eligible to donate a kidney if you:
Find out more about living donor kidney transplants as you consider your decision.
You should consider your reasons for donating carefully.
An organ transplant is a long and complicated process. You have to be sure that you are willing and prepared to see the entire living donor transplant process through – from pre-donation evaluation to surgery and recovery and follow-up.
Let your family know of your decision. It is important to have a strong support system for your emotional and physical needs during this period. At the same time, you should know that you can change your mind about the donation at any point.
As a living organ donor, you may have many concerns. With Mount Elizabeth Hospitals, you can be confident of having the support of an experienced and conscientious transplant team journeying with you.
Find out more about our transplant services or learn more about kidney transplants and liver transplants.