Overview of Organ Transplant Tourism

GS-2 Mains ( Health)

Short Notes or Revision Notes 

Question : Examine the phenomenon of organ transplant tourism in India, highlighting the surge in foreign nationals receiving organs through private hospitals and the allegations of irregularities in organ allocation.


  • Organ transplantation is a surgery where an organ is transplanted from one person (donor) to another (recipient).
  • There’s a significant rise in foreign nationals receiving organs through private Indian hospitals.
  • A 2018 report alleged irregularities in allocating organs to foreigners, bypassing Indian patients on waiting lists.

National Organ & Tissue Transplant Organisation (NOTTO)

  • Established by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
  • Functions include maintaining a national registry of organ donation and transplantation activities.

Benefits of Organ Donation

  • Saves lives of those with organ failure.
  • Addresses organ shortage.
  • Promotes human solidarity and raises awareness.

Issues in Organ Donation in India

  • High demand-supply gap (shortage of organs).
  • Poor infrastructure, especially in public hospitals.
  • Lack of awareness about brain stem death.
  • Low deceased donor rates due to lack of awareness and negative attitudes.
  • Unorganized systems for organ procurement from deceased donors.
  • Organ trafficking.
  • High cost for uninsured and poor patients.

Laws and Rules

  • The Transplantation of Human Organs Act (1994) regulates organ donation and transplantation to prevent commercial dealings.
  • The Transplantation of Human Organs (Amendment) Act (2011) allows organ swapping and expands the donor pool.
  • The Transplantation of Human Organs and Tissues Rules (2014) aims to remove barriers to organ donation while preventing misuse.

Suggestions for Improvement

  • Generate a unique NOTTO-ID for both donors and recipients in all transplant cases.
  • Regularly inspect transplant hospitals to monitor activities, quality, and outcomes.
  • Ensure regular data collection and sharing of all transplant cases, including those involving foreigners.

Facts about Organ Donation

  • World Organ Donation Day is August 13th.
  • Indian Organ Donation Day is now August 3rd (previously November 27th) to commemorate India’s first successful deceased heart transplant (August 3rd, 1994).
  • July is National Organ Donation Month in India.


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