There are over 2,000 kidney patients in the United Arab Emirates on a waiting list for kidney transplants alone stuck in legal limbo. But a new federal decree is going to change that. The Gulf state now allows organ transplantation from both the living and deceased.
Under Federal Decree No. 4, residents of the UAE can now legally donate certain organs (heart, lungs, kidneys to name a few) and tissues (bones, cornea, heart valves, etc...).
The procedure can be done by both living people and from the deceased. For living donors, it is "restricted to relatives within the fourth degree and couples married for at least two years."
However, the law prohibits the "sale" of human organs and tissues, bans unlicensed advertising of transplants as well as funding transplantation if the organs are sold. A person caught making money off organs faces a fine, and possibly prison time.
"The new law regulates transplantation of human organs and tissues, which saves many lives and restores essential functions for many otherwise untreatable patients," said Ameen Al Amiri, assistant undersecretary at the Ministry of Health and Prevention for Public Health Policy and Licensing, according to Gulf News .
A national survey conducted by the Mohammad bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences (MBRU) revealed that nearly 68 percent of the respondents were ready to donate their organs if they were brain-dead.
Earlier in June, MBRU performed the first ever organ transplant in Dubai.
Under Federal Decree No. 4, doctors have the right to refrain from resuscitation and to conduct sexual reassignment surgery. These amendments are one of several under Decree No. 4 that reduce doctors’ criminal liability.
The law introduces sweeping changes to healthcare governance in the country, challenging already existing cultural norms.