Organ Donation Day: History and Significance

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Feb 24, 2022, 13:30

Founded twelve years ago, Organ Donation Day aims to generate awareness among individuals and restore our belief in humanity. Its objective is to identify and applaud the people who make selfless efforts. People in India celebrated Organ Donation Day for the first time in 2010 on November 27. Worldwide, people observe this day on August 13. 

You can donate organs at any age. In case you're under 18 years, you need to get the consent of your parents or guardians to register yourself as a donor.

History of World Organ Donation Day

In 1954, Ronald Lee Herrick donated a kidney to his twin brother in the US. Dr Joseph Murray won the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1990 for conducting the procedure. He set a precedent for organ transplantation in the world. 

The youngest organ donor was a boy born in 2015 who was alive for just 100 minutes. He donated his kidneys to a man who suffered from renal failure. The oldest organ donor was a woman in Scotland aged 109 who died in 2016; she donated her cornea. 

Significance of National Organ Donation Day 

The National Organ Donation Day is sponsored by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and organized by the National Organ and Tissue Transplant Organization. The Transplantation of Human Organs and Tissues Act in India regulates organ donation. The law permits both living and deceased individuals to donate. A recent study estimates that only 0.65 organ donations occur in India. The number stands at 26 and 35 in the US and Spain respectively. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the number of people donating organs has seen a 70% decline in India.

In India, only 3% of the population has registered for donating organs. A 2019 study by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences confirms that around 2 lakh Indians need a kidney transplant every year. However, only 8000 Indians can get it. Similarly, only 1800 Indians get a liver transplant even though 80,000 patients require it. 1 lakh Indians need eye transplants, but less than half of the patients receive them. NGOs and charities in India try to dispel myths about organ donation and urge them to do the same on National Organ Donation Day.

Facts about Organ Donation Shared on Organ Donation Day

  • Organ donation is possible for anybody of any religion, caste, age, or group. 
  • There's no age restriction for organ donation.  
  • You will have to pass stringent medical standards for organ donation.
  • You can donate tissues like skin, heart valves, bone, and skin after natural death. But you can only donate organs like the liver, intestines, kidney, lungs, pancreas, and heart after brain death.

Forms of Organ Donation

Organ donors are of two types: live and deceased. Live donors can give organs such as a kidney or a portion of the liver. Humans can live with only one kidney, and the liver is the only organ in the body that regenerates, allowing for organ transplantation while the donor is still alive. Cadaver donation is the second type of organ donation. After the donor has died, you can transfer their healthy organs to a live individual.

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FAQs About Organ Donation Day

Q.1) When was World Organ Donation Day started?

In 1954, Doctor Joseph Murray of the United States performed the world's first-ever organ transplant on August 13. That was the inspiration for kicking off World Organ Donation Day. 

Q.2) What is the theme of Organ Donation Day?

The theme of Organ Donation Day is to dispel myths regarding organ donation.

Q.3) Which day is National Organ Donation Day?

Indians celebrate National Organ Donation Day on November 27 annually.