Sat, Oct 20, 2018 - Page 1 News List

Kidney donations between families to be allowed

PERFECT MATCH:There are more than 7,400 people awaiting kidney transplants, but only 329 received one last year from family members or deceased donors

Staff writer, with CNA

Ministry of Health and Welfare Department of Medical Affairs Director-General Shih Chung-liang listens to a reporter at a news conference in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: CNA

The Ministry of Health and Welfare yesterday published new regulations that allow kidney donations between two families to increase the number of kidney transplants.

Under the guidelines, a person who is willing to donate a kidney to a family member, but is not a match, could have their information posted on the Taiwan Organ Registry and Sharing Center to see if they match with another family.

If there are two families that match, the transplants can proceed with ministry approval after two rounds of reviews by hospital ethics committees, the guidelines state.

Department of Medical Affairs Director-General Shih Chung-liang (石崇良) described the system as “exchanging one kidney for another.”

The system could prevent ethical disputes or illegal organ trading, while increasing the chances of patients finding a suitable kidney, he said.

The guidelines also stipulate that the date of the transplants must be set by the hospitals that would perform the surgeries, and any of the two patients or two donors can withdraw their consent in writing any time before the operation.

Ministry statistics show that 83,000 people were on dialysis as of the end of July.

There are currently more than 7,400 kidney transplant candidates on the organ registry and sharing center, while about 7,000 were on the wait list as of the end of last year.

However, only 217 people received a transplant from a deceased donor last year, while 112 received kidneys from living family members, statistics showed.

More than 7,000 families of people on the wait list would be able to check kidney pairings with other families on the list once the guidelines are implemented, Shih said.

The system could take effect in January next year after a two-month public review, he added.

Taiwan is to be the third country in Asia, after India and Singapore, to introduce the system, he said.

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