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Human Organs Transplant Laws in India

The term organ transplant refers to the transplantation of an organ from one body to another. The person who receives the organ is the recipient and one who gives is called the donor. This procedure is undertaken for the replacement of the damaged organ in the body of the recipient with the working organ from the body of the donor. The organ donor can be a deceased or alive.

Organ Transplantation is considered to a boon for the medical industry as this procedure can help in saving lives of people who would die because of their dysfunctional organ. It is important that before this process is conducted several related laws should be kept into consideration. Medical India Tourism offers to give you online information on Human Organ Transplant Laws in India, India.

Some of the organs that are mainly donated are kidney, Liver, heart, lung, pancreas, small bowel and sometimes skin along with the other things. In the earlier times illegal organ trafficking is a major problem because of corrupt and inefficient health care system.  For stopping illegal organ transplant, the Government of India had come up with certain laws in 1994 that made organ sale a crime. The Human Organs Transplant Act, 1994 laid down certain rules and regulations that were to be followed while conducting organ transplant.

According to Organ Transplant Laws, no money exchange between the donor and the recipient was allowed. According to the 1994 Act, the unrelated donor had to file an affidavit in the court of a magistrate stating that the organ is being donated out of affection. Later, the donor had to undergo a few tests before the transplant. The Authorization Committee checked all the supplied documents.

As per the Indian Law, sale of organs was banned. Thus, no foreigner could get a local donor. In case of money exchange, the offender had to pay heavy penalty. Close relatives of the recipient like siblings, parents, children and spouse could donate the organ without clearance from the government. However, they were required to appear before the authorization committee for clearance and approval.

Aim of Transplantation of human organs act, 1994

The Government passed an act in 1994 to rationalize organ donations and transplants in the country. The main aims of the act:

  • Regulating removal, storage and transplantation of human organs for therapeutic purposes.
  • Accepting brain death and making it possible to use these patients as potential organ donors.
  • Preventing commercial dealings of organs.

After this deal, the concept of brain death was legalized for the first time in India.

Definitions -  In this Act, unless the con otherwise requires-

  • Advertisement - Any kind of advertising for the public generally or to a section or to selected persons
  • Appropriate Authority - The Appropriate Authority appointed under Section 13
  • Authorisation Committee - The Committee constituted under clause (a) or clause (b) of sub-section (4) of Section 9
  • Brain-stem death - A condition when all brain-stem functions have permanently and irreversibly stopped and is so certified under sub-section (6) of Section 3
  • Deceased person - A person in whom the evidence of life has permanently disappeared, because of brain-stem death or in a cardio-pulmonary sense, at any time after live birth has taken place
  • Donor- Any person, above 18 years of age, who voluntarily authorises the removal of any of his human organs for therapeutic purposes under sub-section (1) or sub-section (2) of Section 3
  • Hospital - Is inclusive of a clinic, medical centre, nursing home, medical or teaching institution for therapeutic purposes and any other kind of an institution
  • Human organ - Any part of a human body comprising of a structured arrangement of tissues which, if removed completely, can’t be replicated by the body
  • Near relative – Siblings, spouse, son, daughter, father or mother
  • Notification - A notification published in the Official Gazette;
  • Payment - Payment in money or money's worth. However, not including any payment for reimbursing or defraying-

(a) Cost of removal, transportation or preservation of the human organ to be supplied or

(b) Any kind of expense or loss of earnings sustained by a person so far as reasonably and directly because of his supplying any human organ from his body

  • Prescribed - Prescribed by rules made under this Act
  • Recipient - A person in whom any human organ is to be transplanted
  • Registered medical practitioner- A medical practitioner who has any recognised medical qualification in clause (h) of Section 2 of the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 (102 of 1956), and who is enrolled on a State Medical Register as defined in clause (k) of that section
  • Therapeutic purposes - Systematic treatment of any disease or steps for the improvement of health as per any particular method, and
  • Transplantation - Grafting of any human organ from any living person or deceased person to any other living person for therapeutic reasons.

The Transplantation of Human Organs (Amendment) Bill, 2009

The Bill passed in 2009, made certain changes and alterations in the previous laws. This Amendment Bill offers regulation of the transplantation of human tissue along with organ transplant. It was made necessary that the medical staff looking after the patient to put forward a request to the relatives of the brain dead person form donation of organs. It was necessary that every organ donation case should go to the Authorisation Committee first.


  • The bill made amendments in the Transplantation of Human Organs Act, 1994.
  • Along with human organs, the Bill also regularized the transplantation of tissues of the human body.
  • The act permitted donations from living persons who are near relatives. This act also added grandparents and grandchildren to the list of “near relative”.
  • The doctor had to inform the patient or his relatives about the possibility of organ donation and made sure that they given their consent to it.
  • If  the organ of the donor and the recipient does not match medically, the bill gave a permission to swap organs with another pair of such a person.
  • The bill made an increase in the penalty for illegal removal of human organs and for receiving or making payment for a human organ.

Key Issues and Analysis

  • The bill became strict in curbing commercial human organ trade but made organ availability easier for transplantation for needy patients.
  • The donor as well as the recipient would get penalized in case there is any involvement of money in the transplant.
  • If organ donor is not a “near relative”, he required prior permission from the State Authorisation Committee.
  • The bill offered for the establishment of Advisory Committees.

The Transplantation of Human Organs (Amendment) Bill,2013

The state health department, a few months back, came- up with a composite set of guidelines for dealing with with deceitful practices and for countering illegal organ transplant. Now along with an authorization committee, there will be a ‘Verification Committee’ as well in every block for the verification of the details that are offered by the donor and recipient. It will also look after all the other legalities of the matter of organ transplant.

Going for an organ donation?

There are mainly 2 types of donations –

  1. Live donation – Where organ transplant takes place between the patient and his close friend or a family member
  2. Cadaveric donation- Where a person pledges his organs for harvesting and donated after his death.

Keep the following in mind, if you are donating to your own family member:

  • Leaving other states apart, if you live in Maharashtra and want to donate an organ to your family member, you will need an NOC from the government.
  • Before the donation starts, one has to undergo a complete health check- up along with a blood cross matching test.

Cadaver donation means that a person takes a pledge to donate his organs after death. Here the organs of a person are harvested after the person is declared brain dead. In case of cadaver donation keep the following in mind:

  • If you want to donate an organ, you need to register with any NGO who will arrange an organ donation card for you.
  • It is important that you should inform your family about your wish so that after your death they give a permission to the doctor for organ harvesting.
  • As per the rules, once the donation is done, the body has to be returned to the family members in an aesthetic manner, covering it properly.
  • After being declared brain dead or after death, the organs are tested fir their usability.
  • If once suffers from kidney disease, liver failure or heart conditions etc., organs cannot be used.
  • One can donate his skin, eyes, liver, lungs, kidneys, and sometimes intestines.

For more information ,check

Liver Transplant Guidelines in India

Living Donor Kidney Transplantation Guidelines

For Recipients:

In case you are on the receiving side, you should be aware of the following:

  • Register yourself with the Zonal Transplant Coordination Center (ZTCC) for cadaveric donations, as per your need and get an NOC.
  • You can take the assistance of your physician who can also guide you through the process of registering.
  • Every available organ has to go through a cross match test. In case the result is negative, the doctor does  not go for the transplant.

Whatever the kind of transplant is, the donor goes through the following:

Blood Type Testing:  This test for finding one’s ABO blood group so that there is no mismatching in the blood groups.

Serology: Another blood test to check for transmissible diseases like HIV, CMV and hepatitis.

Crossmatch:  This test determines If the recipient's antibodies will accept or reject the donor kidney.

Human Leukocyte Antigens (HLA): This is a blood test is also known as tissue typing.

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