Organ Donation in Sri Lanka: Promoting the Gift of Life

The Need for Deceased Organ Donation

Live-donor transplantation is currently limited to kidney transplants in Sri Lanka. To expand into multi-organ transplants, such as liver, pancreas, and heart, as well as increase the number of kidney transplants performed, it was essential to establish a structured deceased donor program.

The First Organ Donor Walk in Sri Lanka

In February 2018, DHPL Travels organized the inaugural Organ Donor Walk in Sri Lanka. This event surpassed all expectations, with over 3,000 participants, including students, military personnel, healthcare professionals, various organizations, and well-wishers from across the country. The response was overwhelming, with over 2,000 individuals registering as organ donors on the same day. As a result of this success, February 18th was declared National Organ Donor Day in Sri Lanka.

Changing Social Attitudes

At DHPL Travels, our mission is to transform societal perceptions surrounding deceased organ donation in the Sri Lankan community. We believe that organ donation not only saves the life of the recipient but also provides solace to the grieving family during their time of despair.

Obtaining a National Donor Card: Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How can I register my decision to donate my organs after my death (brain death)?

    • The best way to register as an organ donor is to download the application form from the DHPL Travels website and send the completed form to the Health Education Unit at Sri Jayewardenepura General Hospital.
    • Alternatively, you can collect, fill, and submit the registration forms at the inquiry counter in Sri Jayewardenepura General Hospital.
    • If you are currently abroad or unable to send the application form by mail or in-person, you can digitally fill the form or send a photocopy to DHPL Travels.
  2. Can I donate my organs if I die at home?

    • No, organ donation is only possible when “brain death” is diagnosed in an intensive care setting while the individual is connected to a machine.
    • “Brain death” refers to the complete absence of brain stem activity due to a severe brain injury. Once this occurs, a ventilator keeps oxygen circulating through the bloodstream, as there is no chance of recovery. A panel of expert doctors in an intensive care unit always diagnoses brain death.
  3. Can I choose to become an organ donor if I have certain medical conditions?

    • Yes, you can still register as an organ donor. In the event of brain death, doctors will evaluate your suitability for donation on an individual basis. Even if your organs are not suitable for transplantation, certain tissues can still be used to help other individuals in need.
  4. Is there an age limit for organ donation after death?

    • According to Sri Lankan law, individuals must be at least 21 years old to donate their organs after death. However, this age limit may change in the future to include younger donors if appropriate legislation is passed.
    • There is no upper age limit for organ donation. However, as our internal organs weaken with age, transplanting weaker organs may provide minimal benefit to the recipient. Generally, individuals above 75 years of age are not considered for organ donation.
  5. Will doctors confirm my death before removing my organs?

    • Organ donation can only proceed after a panel of expert doctors confirms brain death. Strict guidelines for confirming brain death are universally accepted.
  6. Will there be any disfigurement to the body or delays in funeral proceedings after organ donation?

    • Organ retrieval is conducted by a team of expert surgeons in an operating theater, treating the body with utmost respect.
    • As “brain death” is considered the time of death, there will be no delay in releasing the body to the family after the procedure.
    • There is no need to modify funeral proceedings, as they can be conducted according to the individual’s religious or personal beliefs.
  7. Will the organ removal process be painful for the donor?

    • No, once brain function ceases (brain death), the donor will not experience any sensation, including pain.
  8. Can my family members find out who received my organs?

    • No, it is ethically prohibited to disclose this sensitive information.
    • Recipients are also unaware of the identities of their organ donors.
  9. What happens after I register my decision to donate my organs after my death (brain death)?

    • After submitting your completed registration form, DHPL Travels will send you a donor card by mail to confirm your registration.
    • Additionally, the information you provide will be securely stored in a database linked to your national identity card number (NIC).
    • In the event of an unfortunate incident resulting in admission to any government hospital where brain death is diagnosed, hospital staff can access the database to confirm your registration status.
    • Once the doctors have contacted your closest relative (next of kin) and received consent, the organ donation process will be initiated.
  10. If I am registered and experience brain death, will doctors proceed with organ removal without consulting my family?

    • No, doctors will always contact your next of kin to obtain consent before proceeding with the organ donation process. Your donor card will help initiate the consent process.

By taking the step to become an organ donor, you can save lives and bring hope to individuals in need. Join DHPL Travels in promoting the gift of life through organ donation in Sri Lanka. Visit DHPL Travels for more information on organ donation and how you can make a difference.

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