Some 34 articles regulating human organ donation and transplantation are now in effect in Shenzhen, south China's Guangdong Province.
After being discussed and amended three times at the 26th session of the 3rd Standing Committee of the Municipal People's Congress, the draft regulations -- a first for China -- were passed at 5 p.m. Friday.
The adopted version includes more detailed stipulations regarding donor's rights. Specifically, in living organ donations the recipient coverage has been enlarged to non-relative patients.
According to an earlier draft, only the donor's relatives had the right to receive living organs donation.
However, for persons under 18 years old, the donation criteria have been narrowed. They are only permitted to donate organs to their relatives. The earlier draft allowed them to donate to unrelated persons after getting permission from their guardians.
"That's for the better protection of the youth's right," said Wang Pengfei with the standing committee of the Shenzhen municipal people's congress.
The local Red Cross Association is set to bridge donors and recipients, which means it will be responsible collecting the donor's will and private information and arranging the timetable for the operation.
However, the new rules clearly define the order for matching donors and recipients as "first come, first served."
The order will strictly abide by the natural registration order of the patients, and only if the first eligible recipient is unsuitable for the operation will the next in line receive the donated organ. Violators will be fined 10,000 yuan (US$1,210) fine.
The new regulations stem from the encouraging response to a call for cornea donations four years ago, said Wang.
Meanwhile, a plan to use driver's licenses as a means for registering organ donors has been abandoned.
In some western countries traffic accidents have become the primary source of donated organs, but for the time being that won't be the case in China.
"We need time for the people to accept the concept,'' said Wang. "We Chinese are very likely to think it unlucky to include a 'death' item on a driving license."
(China Daily August 23, 2003)