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Hospital AuthorityHong Kong Medical Association
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Frequently Asked Questions

01.

Once I am registered as an organ donor, the medical personnel will not save my life in case I am injured in an accident.
This is impossible. Saving life is the responsibility and foremost priority of every medical staff member. Medical personnel will consider collecting a patient's organs for organ transplants only when the patient is certified dead.
02. I am too young to need to think about organ donation.
Suitable organ donors are mostly patients who died in accidents or from acute illnesses. If the wish of these victims to donate organ(s) after death has not been documented or made known to their family members beforehand, it will be difficult to execute such wish after their death. Thus, even young people can consider organ donation.
03. I am too old for organ donation.
There is no strict limit of age for organ donation. In general, organs may be donated by someone as young as a newborn or as old as 75. As for tissue donation, the age limit for such is below 80 in the case of corneas and between 16 and 60 in the case of long bones. There is no age limit for skin donation.
04.

I've always been sickly, and so my organs or tissues may not be suitable for donation.
In fact, very few medical conditions (e.g. severe infectious diseases and most cancers) oblige their patients to refrain strictly from organ donation. Most people, including those suffering from brain cancer without secondary spread, can donate organs/tissues after death. Moreover, people of most cancer types (except lymphoma, leukemia, myeloma, and malignant tumours of ocular or periocular areas) can still donate their corneas after death even though their other organs are not suitable for donation. In any case, a transplant team will assess all potential donors individually to decide if their organs are truly suitable for such purpose.
05.

I am worried that the removal of an organ will affect the appearance of the body and thus the funeral rite.
Once the consent form has been signed by the family of the deceased, the organs concerned will be collected surgically as soon as possible, with full respect for the body of the deceased. Donation will not disfigure the body as the incisions will be properly stitched up; in most cases they will be covered by burial clothing.
06. I am worried that all my organs will be taken away regardless of my wish.
You may specify in the Centralised Organ Donation Register or on the donation card which organ(s)/tissue(s) you wish to donate. In addition, the family of the deceased have to sign a consent form to confirm the organ/tissue to be removed for transplant purpose.
07.

The transplant of an organ from one body to another may not be acceptable according to my religious belief.
Most religions encourage sharing and giving. In fact, religions such as Buddhism, Taoism, Catholicism, Christianity and Islam all support organ donation as an act of benevolence and merit.
08.


If the organ recipients or their family find out the donors' name and address, they may send over their thanks or condolences, adding to the grief of the donors' family.
The privacy of donors and recipients will always be respected. Neither the name nor personal particulars of the donors will be disclosed, but the family of the donors will be informed of the recipients' progress after the transplant.
09. I am worried about the fees and charges arising from organ donation.
Fees and charges arising from organ donation after the death of donors are not to be borne by their family.