World Organ Donation Day is honoured every August 13th of the year. Being a donor is important because it could save someone’s life and lead to better health outcomes for those waiting for transplants all around the world.
This article will educate you more thoroughly on organ donation.
There are 2 types of organ donation available in Malaysia:
Organ donation after death
Organ and tissue donation after death will only be carried out after permission has been received from the next of kin or close family. Therefore, if you have the desire to donate or have pledged to become an organ donor, it is important that this sincere desire is communicated to your family. By law, permission from the next of kin or close family must be obtained before organ donation can be done.
There are two types of organ donation after death for transplantation purposes.
In Malaysia, a person who has been confirmed to be brain dead can donate all types of organs and tissues. Brain death is a condition in which all brain functions have stopped (as a result of conditions such as severe head trauma or aneurysm) and cannot be restored.
A person who is brain dead cannot breathe on their own and is completely dependent on a life support machine (ventilator). Brain death is a legal death and is accepted worldwide by professional groups and recognised by the Malaysian National Fatwa Council (National Fatwa Council 2011).
In order to confirm brain death, a brain death assessment is carried out by trained medical experts (who are not involved in the process of procurement and transplant surgery) and is carried out 2 times.
Currently, in Malaysia, patients who have been confirmed to have died of from a cardiac arrest can donate all types of tissue (including cornea, heart valve, bone and skin). Cardiac arrest is a condition where all cardiac functions stop and this is the leading cause of death in Malaysia (2020).
Donation during life
Living donation is an alternative source to organ procurement. Donation during living is carried out when the donor voluntarily gives permission for donation. There are only 2 organs that can be donated, one of the kidneys or part of the liver.
In Malaysia, donation during life is only allowed from family members such as parents, siblings or children and it is classified as ‘Family Related Lifetime Organ Donation’. However, if there is a potential donor who is not related to the recipient, permission must be obtained from the Ministry of Health (MoH) in relation to the donation.
These are the organs and tissues that can be donated:
- Heart Valves
- Eyes (cornea)
Not to mention one can only donate their organs when the heart stops beating, brain death or pronounced dead by a doctor. Do note that the process of organ donation will not cause any mutilation or disfiguration on the body, so an open-casket funeral is possible.
Referring to the latest statistics (June 2022) by the National Transplant Resource Centre, there are more than 515k organ donors who pledged since 1997.
Here is how you can register to be a donor:
1. Online Registration
- Register yourself at DermaOrgan.gov.my
- Fill up your information and submit your form, be sure to inform your family about your decision
- You’ll receive a confirmation email soon, and your organ donation card will be mailed to you.
2. Email Registration
- Send an email to email@example.com with the subject ‘I WANT TO PLEDGE’ or ‘SAYA NAK IKRAR’.
- The National Transplant Resource Centre will send you a registration form to fill in.
3. Physical Mail Registration
- Fill in the organ donation registration form HERE, and print it out.
- Send it to the address below:
National Transplant Resource Center
(Pusat Sumber Transplan Nasional)
Hospital Kuala Lumpur, Jalan Pahang,
50586 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
4. Another alternative way is you can manually complete the registration forms at any government hospital or health centre.
These are the requirements needed before registering as an Organ Donor:
- Open to all Malaysian citizens and non-citizens.
- You need to sign up voluntarily.
- If you are 18 years old or younger, you must obtain the permission of your parents or guardians.
- Fill out the registration form completely.
Donating your organs is a noble thing to do and it provides a chance for others to continue living.
Are you an organ donor yet? If not, you may pledge to be one anytime as the gift of life is everyone’s to give. Share it with your family and friends and be a part of this noble act.