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What do you need to know about organ transplantation? Printable version

Last update: 17.08.2023

organ transplantation

Organ transplantation is the transplantation of organs (parts of an organ) and (or) tissues (part of tissue) to another place in the body or to another body.

Organ transplantation might be required for any person, both an adult and a child as no one is immune from loss of health. Variety of diseases can cause a failure of any human organ to function and the need for its transplantation arises.

As of July 2023, over 4 thousand Kazakhstani citizens are in urgent need of organ transplantation, including 109 children. For some patients every hour counts not to mention days. More often than other organs, Kazakhstani citizens need kidney transplantation - 91.2%, liver – 4.6%, heart – 3.7%, lungs-0.4%, cardiopulmonary complex – 0.1%.

Transplantation of heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, pancreas can be done in Kazakhstan. Since 2012, 2379 organ transplantations have been performed, of which organs from lifetime donors were provided to 85% of patients and organs from postmortem donors to 15% of patients.

Who can become a donor?

Pursuant to Article 210 and Clauses 1 and 3 of Article 212 of the Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan as of July 7, 2020 "On the Health of People and Healthcare System" (hereinafter: Code), a living person (a lifetime donor) and a deceased (a posthumous donor) can become a donor.

A lifetime donor of organs and tissues should:

  • be aged 18 and older,
  • be legally capable,
  • express written notarized consent to the retrieval of an organ (part of an organ) and (or) tissues (part of tissue) for further transplantation,
  • undergo a comprehensive medical examination confirming that the removal of an organ (part of an organ) will not entail an irreversible disorder of health.

The decision to transplant an organ (part of an organ) from a lifetime donor in Kazakhstan is made by the Ethics Committee, which, in order to exclude abuse and improve safety, examines all the supporting documents listed above, establishes a genetic link between a potential recipient and a lifetime donor.

A posthumous donor is a person aged 18 and older who has been diagnosed with irreversible death of brain, organs (parts of an organ) and (or) tissues (parts of tissue) which can be used for transplantation to a recipient. The organs of one posthumous donor can save the lives of about 7 people. 

Who cannot become a donor?     

The list of infectious diseases in which organ and tissue transplantation from a donor is allowed was approved by the Order of the Acting Minister of Health of the Republic of Kazakhstan as of October 30, 2020.

Pursuant to Clause 3 of Article 212 of the Code, retrieval of organs and tissues from a posthumous donor for transplantation is not allowed if a medical organization at the time of withdrawal is informed that this person during his/her lifetime or other people after the death of a person, spouse or one of the close relatives expressed their disagreement with the removal of organs (part of an organ) and (or) tissues (part of a tissue).

Is it possible to buy/sell an organ in Kazakhstan?

In accordance with subclause 3) of Clause 4 of Article 209 of the Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan "On the Health of People and Healthcare System", purchase and sale of organs (parts of an organ) and (or) tissues (parts of tissue) of a person for transplantation purposes is prohibited.

How can I refuse or agree to become a posthumous organ donor during my lifetime?   

In order to register a will for posthumous donation, a citizen of the Republic of Kazakhstan can select two options: directly contact an outpatients' clinic at the place of registration, where an authorized employee will check the ID documents and registration status and afterwards provide a relevant application form (consent or withdrawal of consent/refusal). The completed form is then added into the Register, and an applicant will be given a certificate of registration of the will signed by the first head and sealed with a stamp of PHC organization within 1 working day; or, one can register a will for posthumous donation online via e-Gov portal. To do this, an applicant needs to log in to the portal and order the service. Then, fill-in all the necessary fields and sign an application using digital signature. Within a few minutes, the status updates and a certificate of registration of will become available in two languages. In an application, you can allow to use all the organs or only specific ones. Eventually, you can change your decision an unlimited number of times. An application itself is indefinite, that is, it does not need to be updated or confirmed after some time. The decision is made on the last registered application of a person. Information about individuals who registered the consent or refusal is confidential. Only three republican transplantation coordinators have access to this database and only after the death of a person. Personal data protection is carried out in accordance with the Code and Article 29 of the Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan as of May 21, 2013 "On Personal Data and its Protection". Pursuant to Clause 2 of Article 212 of the Code, the Order of the Minister of Health of the Republic of Kazakhstan as of December 21, 2020 No. KR DSM-308/2020 "On approval of the Rules for giving a person's lifetime will for posthumous donation of organs (part of an organ) and (or) tissues (part of tissue) and notifying a spouse or one of close relatives about it."

How do I get into the list of those who are waiting for transplantation?

Decision on the need for organ transplantation is made by a multidisciplinary group, i.e. a group of various specialists formed depending on the nature of the violation of the functions and structures of a patient's body and severity of clinical condition. If the group confirms the indications for transplantation, they send the information to the transplantation coordinators. A patient is put into the waiting list. He/she stays there until an organ with tissue compatibility from a posthumous donor is found. There is only one waiting list for organ transplantation in Kazakhstan. The waiting list includes those people for whom a clear decision has already been made on the need for transplantation (protocol decision of the multidisciplinary group at the regional health department or transplantation center, extract from a patient's medical record (form 027/y) (indicating the blood type, Rh factor, height and weight of a patient, lack of contraindications for transplantation), national ID, home address and contact phone numbers. The requirements for inclusion into the waiting list are as follows: 1) statement issued by a multidisciplinary group at the Health Department of a region or a transplantation center; 2) a patient's consent to collection and processing of personal data; 3) information about a patient. Thus, one should contact an outpatients` clinic at the place of residence or family doctor to settle an issue on referral to an appropriate committee if there are indications for transplantation. Potential recipients in the waiting list, who are infected with viral hepatitis (B, C), tuberculosis of any localization, HIV infection, syphilis have the opportunity to receive an organ not only from a healthy, but also from a posthumous donor infected with the same diagnosis (Order of the Acting Minister of Health of the Republic of Kazakhstan as of October 30, 2020 No. KR DSM-171/2020).

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