New legislation for organ transplants in Egypt

New laws to regulate organ and tissue transplants at the biggest international organ transplantation centre in the Middle East.

The Ministry of Health will establish the biggest international organ transplantation centre in the Middle East at El-Sheikh Zayed Al-Nahyan Hospital in Cairo.

This first national research centre for liver, bone marrow and kidney transplantation will be set up based on international systems to put an end to organ trafficking in Egypt. It will create a bank for donated organs from deceased donors.

New laws regulate organ and tissue transplants particularly from deceased to living patients. The law recently changed after black market activity exploited the poor who agreed to part with their organs for money. Egypt passed law in 2010 on organ donations and transplants, but organ traffickers exploited loopholes. The law sought to shut down commercial organ trading and organ trafficking. It allows donation only upon death and prohibits the buying and selling of human organs and tissues. But the money doctors could make greatly exceeded any possible fine, so the trade was rebuilt. Egypt’s health ministry uncovered an illicit human organ trade in which migrants were selling body parts to reach Europe. Involved in the organ trafficking were 45 doctors, nurses and organ buyers, all of whom have been arrested.

So the Egyptian Parliament has updated the law on organ transplantation with tougher penalties. If the illegal act is committed on a living person, the medical practitioner can be imprisoned for no more than 10 years and the fine is substantial. If the patient dies, the penalty rises to life imprisonment and includes the possibility of a huge fine.

The law stipulates that the transplantation of an organ, or part of an organ or tissue, to another human being is prohibited. That is unless it is necessary to save the life of the patient, and so long as there are no alternatives to save the patient’s life and the transplant does not pose any danger to the donor.