To understand Organ Donation, it is first important to understand Organ Transplants. A transplant is a medical procedure where one person’s dysfunctional organ or tissue is replaced by that of a healthy person, thus restoring its function. In certain cases, despite major advances in Medical Science, transplant is the only alternative. Transplants drastically improve the quality of life of the patient and give them another chance to live.
As per the Transplantation of Human Organs Act 1994 , only first degree relatives (Parents, siblings & children) are allowed to be Live Donors. There is a stipulation on the organs that can be donated. They can donate one Kidney (as one kidney is capable of maintaining the body functions), a portion of Pancreas (as half of the pancreas is adequate for sustaining pancreatic functions) and a part of the Liver (as the few segments that are donated will regenerate after a period of time).
Brain death is the irreversible and permanent end of all brain functions. The brain can no longer send messages to the body to perform vital functions like breathing, sensation, obeying commands etc. Such persons are kept on artificial support (ventilators) to maintain oxygenation of organs so that the organs are in healthy condition until they are removed. Most cases of brain death are the end result of head injuries or brain tumor patients from Intensive care units.
To state the obvious, a transplant can only take place if there is an organ available from a donor. There are two situations under which Organ donation occur- when the person making the donation is alive (Live Donations) or after the person dies (Deceased Donations).