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

Last update: 02.08.2022

organ transplantation

Organ transplantation is 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 June 2022, over 3 thousand Kazakhstani citizens are in urgent need of organ transplantation, including 79 children. For some patients every hour counts not to mention days. More often than other organs, Kazakhstani citizens need kidney transplantation - 90.5%, liver – 4.7%, heart – 4.2%, lungs-0.5%, cardiopulmonary complex – 0.1%.

Transplantation of heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, pancreas can be done in Kazakhstan. Since 2012, 2105 organ transplantations have been performed, of which organs from lifetime donors were provided to 84% of patients and organs from postmortem donors to 16% 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?     

Pursuant to Clauses 4 and 5 of Article 209 of the Code, organ transplantation is prohibited in the following cases:

  • forced removal of organs (parts of an organ) and (or) tissues (parts of tissue) from a person;
  • forcing a person to provide his/her organ (part of organ) and (or) tissues (part of tissue);
  • purchase and sale of organs (parts of an organ) and (or) tissues (parts of tissue) of a person;
  • retrieval of organs (part of an organ) and (or) tissues (part of tissue) from a lifetime donor or a posthumous donor who is a minor or legally incapable person;
  • retrieval of organs (parts of an organ) and (or) tissues (parts of tissue) from a posthumous donor for transplantation to foreigners and stateless persons;
  • retrieval of organs (parts of an organ) and (or) tissues (parts of tissue) from persons who, for health reasons, age or other reasons, could not provide information about their identity and whose identity was not established at the time of death;
  • retrieval of organs (parts of an organ) and (or) tissues (parts of tissue) from an infected lifetime donor or a posthumous donor for transplantation to a recipient is prohibited

At the same time, the order of the Acting Minister of Health of the Republic of Kazakhstan as of October 30, 2020 No. KR DSM-171/2020 approved the list of infectious diseases in which transplantation of organs (parts of an organ) and (or) tissues (parts of tissue) from a donor is allowed. It was registered in the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Kazakhstan on November 2, 2020 No. 21573.

Pursuant to Clause 3 of Article 212 of the Code, retrieval of organs (part of an organ) and (or) tissues (part of tissue) 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?

Pursuant to sub-clauses 3) of clause 4 of Article 209 of the Code, it is prohibited for the purposes of transplantation:

  • purchase and sale of organs (parts of an organ) and (or) tissues (parts of tissue) of a person.

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

To register one`s will for posthumous donation, a citizen of the Republic of Kazakhstan can select two options:

  • when visiting an outpatients' clinic at the place of residence, where an authorized person will check the identity documents and the status of registration, after which a relevant application form (consent or withdrawal of consent/refusal) will be provided. A completed form is entered into the Register, and a certificate of registration signed by a chairman and sealed with an outpatients` clinic seal within 1 working day is issued to an applicant;
  • or one can register one`s will for posthumous donation online through the e-Gov Portal:  
  • to do this, an applicant should log in to the Portal and order the service "Registration of consent or withdrawal of consent for the lifetime voluntary donation of tissues (part of tissue) and (or) organs (parts of organs) after death for the purpose of transplantation";
  • then fill in all the necessary fields and sign an application using DS, in a few minutes the status will be updated and a certificate of registration of the will in two languages will be available.

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." It was registered in the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Kazakhstan on December 22, 2020 No. 21859.

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.

Inclusion into the waiting list for transplantation of organs (part of an organ) and (or) tissues (part of tissue) is carried out in accordance with the Order of the Minister of Health of the Republic of Kazakhstan as of November 30, 2020 No. KR DSM-226/2020 "On approval of the Rules for generation and maintenance of register". It was registered in the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Kazakhstan on December 2, 2020 No. 21717.

Groundings for inclusion into the waiting list are as follows:

1) decision of a multidisciplinary group under regional health department or transplantation center;
2) a patient's consent to the collection and processing of personal data;

3) information about a patient.

This, 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.

In the waiting list, potential recipients 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 "On approval of the list of infectious diseases for which transplantation of organs (parts of an organ) and (or) tissues (parts of tissue) from a donor is permitted").

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