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Monday, July 15, 2024

What you need to know about organ harvesting


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Organ harvesting or donation/transplantation is removing an organ from one person (the donor) and surgically placing it in another (the recipient) whose organ has failed.

The term “organ harvesting” topped social media trends on Thursday after former Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu and his wife, Beatrice were arrested by the UK Police over alleged child trafficking and organ harvest of a child.

What organs and tissues can be transplanted?

Checks by The Nation, show organs and tissues that can be transplanted include:

  1. Liver
  2. Kidney
  3. Pancreas
  4. Heart
  5. Lung
  6. Intestine
  7. Corneas
  8. Middle ear
  9. Bone
  10. Bone marrow
  11. Heart valves
  12. Connective tissue
  13. Vascularized composite allografts (transplant of several structures that may include skin, uterus, bone, muscles, blood vessels, nerves and connective tissue).

People of all ages are considered potential donors. When a person dies, they are evaluated for donor suitability based on their medical history and age. The organ procurement organisation determines medical suitability for donation.

In the UK, forced organ harvesting and organ trafficking are interlinked crimes.

Trafficking of tissue and organs is illegal in the UK. Legal donation of organs can only take place following a person’s consent.

There are two types of donation – donation following death and live donation.

Over the years, reports have shown that victims of forced organ harvesting are subject to abuse and torture.

Organs are forcibly removed without consent or through coercion, to then be used in transplants. They are sold illegally to a market of buyers – many of whom may be unknowingly paying for a trafficked organ and unaware of their role in perpetuating a system of forced organ harvesting.

Kidneys remain the most trafficked organ world over because a patient or donor can survive with only one of them. It is estimated that approximately 7,000 kidneys are harvested and trafficked illegally each year.

Depending on the organ needed, organs are matched using several characteristics, including blood type and size of the organ needed. Also taken into account is how long someone has been on the waiting list, how sick they are, and the distance between the donor and the potential recipient.

In 2010, the World Health Organization obtained some 11,000 illegally harvested organs most of them from countries involved in a conflict.

The crime of harvesting and trafficking human organs within and outside Nigeria has made it one of Nigeria’s Serious Organised Crimes (SOC).

According to the United Nations Convention on Transnational Organised crime (UNTOC), an organised crime group shall mean a structured group of three or more persons, existing for a period of time and acting in a concert to commit one or more serious crimes or offences to obtain, directly or indirectly, a financial or other material benefits.

Although the procedure of organ transplantation has become widely accepted, there are still a number of ethical debates around related issues. The debates center around illegal, forced, or compensated transplantation like organ theft or organ trade.

In the United States, organ procurement is heavily regulated by United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) to prevent unethical allocation of organs.

Source: The Nation