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Organ donation: Step-parents, step-siblings to be defined as ‘near relative’

KOLKATA: In a welcome move for those awaiting organ donation, the Union government plans to include step-parents, step-siblings and extended family in the list of "near relatives" eligible to act as donors.
Currently, the definition of a near relative is quite specific: a person's parents, children, spouse or siblings. In 2011, the law was amended to include grandparents and grandchildren. But has not led to any significant increase in the availability of living donors, the government observed.
But despite this recent expansion in the definition of near relative, the health ministry had been receiving a number of grievances, of which majority are requests for organs due to non-availability of viable donors or blood group mismatch with the near relative.
Therefore, the health ministry has put forward a draft amendment which proposes to bring step-parents, step-siblings and extended family under the ambit of the Human Organs and Tissues Transplantation Act 1994. The minstry has already posted a circular on its website and sought comments from the public till September 25 on the same.
Health ministry officials consider this initiative to be a game changer, as they believe it will help authorities crack down on the black market of organ selling.
Additional Health Director of West Bengal Aditikishor Sarcar said, "This is a good initiative by the centre. We will raise our concerns."

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