New Publication: Organ Transplantation in the United Arab Emirates

Organ Transplantation in the United Arab Emirates: Legal, Ethical and Historical Aspects
Organ transplantation has recently been the subject of significant public policy attention in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). In May 2013, the first donated organ from a deceased person was successfully transplanted to a young woman with a damaged kidney. Although the first laws on organ transplantation were issued in the Arabian Peninsula in the late 1980s and legislation on organ transplantation has existed in the UAE since 1993, a national organ transplant programme was not started until 2007. Since then, transplanted organs have come exclusively from living, related donors. Mainly due to the absence of a definition of death in the relevant law, transplants from deceased donors were not performed. In addition, religious-ethical and socio-cultural concerns, such as the principle of inviolability of the human body and the significance and timing of death and burial, exert a strong influence on potential donors in the region. Some of these concerns are reflected in the UAE legislation, as well as in the laws elsewhere in the Arabian Peninsula. In order to implement these laws and promote the readiness of residents to commit to organ donation, governments have published the rulings of select religious-juridical scholars who deem organ donation compatible with Islam, and have started awareness campaigns that aim at breaking the ice regarding deceased organ donation.

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Stanislava Knezevic