Qatar's organ donation law set to encourage more donors

Qatar's organ donation law set to encourage more donors
A new law regulating organ donation in Qatar has been signed off in a boost to efforts to encourage more people to register as donors.
2 min read
21 August, 2015
Qatar has approved a new law to encourage more people to register as donors [AFP]

Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, the emir of Qatar, has signed off on new legislation regulating organ donation and providing doctors, patients and donors with a legal framework to work within.

The new law lays out the conditions under which organ donation is legal in Qatar, specifying that it is only allowed if the case is urgent and the doctors have exhausted all other treatment options, according to Doha-based newspaper The Peninsula.

An ethics committee at the hospital where the transplant is to take place must also approve the donation.

Children and "people of unsound mind" are barred from making organ donations - even if their parents, guardians or legal representatives have given consent.

Any kind of trade in human organs is not allowed and their sale or purchase is an offence punishable with a jail term of up to 10 years and fine of up to a million riyals ($270,000) or both.

According to the new law, a donor can change their mind at the last moment and refuse to donate, even at the last moment - without citing any reason.

No living person can donate an organ for scientific research. Organs for such a purpose can only be removed from dead people with permission from their legal heirs.

The law also states that the transplant of genitals or tissues or cells from genitals is not allowed in Qatar "if it could lead to confusion over lineage".

The adoption of the new law comes as part of Qatar's efforts to raise awareness about organ donation and increase the number of donors.

During the holy month of Ramadan in 2015, the state-owned Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) assigned stalls at attractions around Doha and tasked them with increasing the country's organ donor registration rate.

Last month, Al-Jazeera English reported that, according to HMC, the country had around 45,000 people on its donor registration list - or five percent of eligible residents.

Since the start of the campaign, an additional 13,000 people have been added to the register.