Organ Donation in Singapore

Organ Donation in Singapore

In Singapore, everyone above 21 is automatically registered as an organ donor. People who opt out of the program are given lower priority for organ transplants, should they ever need one.

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With advances in medical science, organ donation has become a reality. For many patients, organ donation might be the only viable treatment option for them.

The Human Organ Transplant Act (HOTA) is a mandatory organ donation scheme that applies to all Singapore citizens and Permanent Residents aged 21 years old and above, regardless of religion. HOTA may also apply to those below the age of 21, as long as the person’s parent or guardian has consented to such removal.

The HOTA allows for specified organs (the kidneys, liver, heart, and corneas) of a person to be harvested upon their death in a hospital for the purpose of transplantation unless the deceased person had earlier opted out of HOTA.

The organ should be removed and transplanted only by authorized medical practitioners. Otherwise, the removal of organs by an unauthorized person is an offense that can result in a fine not exceeding $10,000, imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months, or both.

A person may choose to opt-out of HOTA by registering an objection with the Director of Medical Services using the HOTA Opt-Out Form. This form allows a person to indicate his objection to removing some or all of the specified organs. The completed form should be sent to the National Organ Transplant Unit. An acknowledgment of this objection will be sent to the person who has opted out of HOTA.

This objection can be withdrawn as well by completing the Withdrawal of Objection to Organ Removal Form, which should also be sent to the National Organ Transplant Unit upon completion.

By opting out of HOTA, one would be given lower priority to another who has not opted out of HOTA on the organ transplant waiting list should he require an organ transplant in the future.

However, should he withdraw his objection after that (i.e., opt back into HOTA), he will be given the same priority as a person who has not registered any such objections after two years from the date on which the Director of Medical Services has received his withdrawal. This is if he does not register another objection during the two years.

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