Overhauling China's organ transplant system could take some time

 China Daily USA
China Daily USA| Jan 8, 2015

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By Chris Davis

Every year in China there are about 300,000 patients who need an organ transplant but only about 10,000 surgeries are performed. That according to Huang Jiefu, former vice-minister of health.

There are a number of reasons for the shortfall. The main one is that Chinese people are much less willing than other populations to donate their organs after death. Huang estimates that six out of 10,000,000 people in China donate, where as in a country like Spain the figure is 370.

In most countries, demand for transplanted organs heavily outstrips supply. But China also faces other barriers. As the current issue of the Lancet reports, "Culturally, the concept of organ donation contradicts the traditional Confucian view that one is born with a complete body, which should end the same way because the body, hair, and skin are gifts from parents."

In 1984 it became legal in China to harvest organs from executed prisoners with their families' consent, a practice that was immediately condemned by international human rights and medical groups. Ethical concerns centered on the possibility of coercion or corruption in the allocation process. A black market developed...

To read more about organ procurement and transplantation in China, click here.

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