Frequently Asked Questions

When did firstly successful organ transplantation in Turkey?

  In 1975 – Kidney transplantation from live donor
  In 1978 – Kidney transplantation from cadaver
  In 1988 – Liver transplantation from cadaver
  In 1989 – First successful heart transplantation
  In 1990 – Partial liver transplantation from relative
  In 1991 – Heart valve transplantation
  In 1998 – Liver transplantation from cadaver for 2 patients
  In 1979 – National Organ Transplant Act numbered 2238 about “TAKING, STORING AND TRANSPLANTATION OF ORGANS AND TISSUES” has been effectuated and it was amended in 1982.

Even if you have some health problems can you donate your organs?

Even if elderly patients or patients having chronic health problems can donate several organs to compatible recipients. For example a patient 70 years old may have functional kidneys.

Body integrity of cadaver

Organs are taken from cadaver by a specialized team. Organ extracted from the cadaver is stored until the transplantation. Body integrity of cadaver is preserved. Only operation scar may be seen on the body.

Why these cards and documents are prepared if all donated organs cannot be used?

Organ transplantation is the only way to survive for patients with end stage diseases. Transplantation from live donor is a technical that can be used only in particular organs because every patient cannot have appropriate donor. Thus in most countries including Turkey there is a shortage of suitable organs for transplantation. Major organ sources are deceased donor who has dead in appropriate conditions.

Body functions of these patients have been continued with medical support and it is not possible to balance for a long time. Therefore timing is the so important factor to be taken organs from cadaver. On the other side it is not easy to ask a decision from the relatives who have lost. They can make a decision easily if their relative mentioned to donate her/his organs. But they can understand if they donate their organs even if they could not know about the decision of their deceased relative. In conclusion, various activities such as “Donation cards”, “Organ Donation Campaigns” “Transplantation Week” and “Transplantation Plays” have only purpose; to make awareness about life’s that can be saved with our relatives who we lost and to be ready to decide.

All donated organs and tissues with "donation card" can be taken?

No. “Donation cards”, self-prepared statements or relevant parts of the ID cards are the expression of subject’s intention. Organ or tissue transplantations require appropriate medical conditions. Without these conditions organs cannot be transplanted or taken.

In which conditions organs or tissues can be taken without any permission of relatives?

Organs or tissues can be taken from person who has a document that mentions she/he has permission to do so without asking to relatives. Organs or tissues which are not included in that statement cannot be taken even if relatives give permission. Organs and tissues can be taken from patients who have developed brain death even if there is no document and accessible relatives in case of the organs and tissues have no time to continue their viability. According to the Law, organs which have no detrimental effects on body integrity can be taken for transplantation without any donation or permission. However doctors try to take permission in any case to prevent any negative perspective against transplantation.

Is it possible to be taken the organs before death?

No. Main responsibility of the doctor is to treat the patient. One of the Hippocratic rule was “first, do no harm” (primum nil nocere). Doctors had been trained and taken an oath to treat the patient without harm. After the patient dies despite all interventions or patient accesses to the doctor after death organs may be taken.

There are some regulations to protect the doctors against liability. Brain death decision should made by an independent team in which there is nobody from treatment and transplantation team. Definition of the brain death is operated by a team including neurologist, neurosurgeon, cardiologist and anesthesia/reanimation specialist after physical examination and required tests with using state of the art technologic facilities. After documentation of brain dead there are various conditions to be taken the organs.

Theological perspectives of organ transplantations?

Islam religion is clear about organ transplantation without any doubt and it is said that saving life is a merit.
Directorate of Religious Affairs in 1980 declared: “With the Decision dated 6.3.1980 and numbered 396 Religious Affairs Commission declares that organ transplantation is permissible.

According to this decision organ transplantation should be performed in line with following conditions:

1. Report from a competent and reliable doctor that declares the necessity of organ transplantation to save the patient’s life or organ.
2. Positive doctor opinion that this treatment can save patient’s life.
3. Donor should be dead during the donation.
4. Consent of the patient who will receive the organ.

Responsibility of all behaviors of the patient who you will donate your organs is hers/him. All religions including Christianity, Judaism, and Buddhism accept the organ transplantation is a part of human love and support the efforts about it with special contributions for organ donation.

Which organs and tissues can be transplanted?

Worldwide, organs and tissues that can be transplanted include the heart, liver, lungs, kidneys, pancreas, intestine, blood, bone marrow and insulin secreting pancreas cells. In Turkey heart, liver, lungs, kidneys, pancreas, cornea, bone marrow and blood transplantations are being performed successfully.

Is organ transplantation suitable for religion?

Directorate of Religious Affairs describes the organ transplantation as one of the best aid between the people. It has been declared that it was religiously permissible with Directive dated 6.3.1980 and numbered 396. In all Muslim countries and for the other religions this is valid. In Koran (Maide Sura, Verse 32) it has been declared that “GIVING LIFE TO SOMEBODY MEANS GIVING LIFE ALL PEOPLE”.

Where the transplanted organs come from?

Organs for transplantation come from live donors (relatives up to 4th degree) or cadavers. For example cornea and kidneys form the patient who died from heart disease can be transplanted to a blind patient or patient with renal deficiency. In patients with advanced heart, liver or renal insufficiencies healthy life is only possible with organ transplantations.