National Organ and Tissue Transplant Organization (NOTTO)

Context: The National Organ & Tissue Transplant Organisation (NOTTO), mandated under the Transplantation of Human Organs (Amendment) Act 2011 to carry out activities for promotion of organ donation from deceased persons, putting systems in place for organ donation and transplantation and training the necessary manpower and personnel celebrated the 11th National Organ Donation Day (27th Nov).


  • Itis a National level organization set up under Directorate General of Health Services, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
  • It has following two divisions:
  1. National Human Organ and Tissue Removal and Storage Network
  2. National Biomaterial Centre (National Tissue Bank)

All about Organ Donation

What is an organ?

  • An organ is a part of the body that performs a specific function: like Heart, Lungs, Kidney, Liver etc.

What are the Organs that can be donated?

  • The organs that can be donated are:

    Liver, Kidney, Pancreas, Heart, Lung, Intestine.

What are the tissues that can be donated?

  • The tissues that can be donated are:

Cornea, Bone, Skin, Heart Valve, blood vessels, nerves and tendon etc.

What are the different types of Organ Donation?

  • There are two types of organ donation.
  • Living Donor Organ Donation: A person during his life can donate
  1. One kidney (the other kidney is capable of maintaining the body functions adequately for the donor),
  2. A portion of pancreas (half of the pancreas is adequate for sustaining pancreatic functions) and
  3. A part of the liver (the segments of liver will regenerate after a period of time in both recipient and donor).
  • Deceased Donor Organ Donation: A person can donate multiple organs and tissues after (brain-stem/cardiac) death.

Is there any age limit for Organ Donation?

  • In living donation, person should be above 18 year of age, and for most of the organs deciding factor is the person’s physical condition and not the age.
  • In the case of tissues and eyes, age usually does not matter.
  • A deceased donor can generally donate the Organs & Tissues with the age limit of:
  1. Kidneys, liver: up-to 70 years
  2. Heart, lungs: up-to 50 years
  3. Pancreas, Intestine: up-to 60-65 years
  4. Corneas, skin: up-to 100 years
  5. Heart valves: up-to 50 years 
  6. Bone: up-to 70 years

How does whole body donation differ from organ donation?

  • Organ donation for therapeutic purposes is covered under the Transplantation of Human Organs Act (THOA 1994).
  • Whole body donation is covered by the Anatomy Act 1984.
  • Bodies are not accepted for teaching purposes if organs have been donated or if there has been a post-mortem examination.
  • However, if only the corneas are to be donated, a body can be left for research.

How are donated organs matched with patients?

  • Blood group is one of the major factors taken into account.
  • Organ size of the donor & recipient is also considered.
  • For kidneys another important factor is tissue matching which is more complex than blood grouping matching and also takes more time.
  • The best results can be achieved if there is a perfect kidney match.
  • There is a local, regional and national computerized list of patients waiting for an organ transplant.
  • Most of the time, computer will identify the best matched patient for a particular organ and organ is offered to the transplant unit who is treating that patient.
  • Also, priority is given to patients who most urgently need a transplant.
  • NOTTO operates the waiting list and organ allocation system.
  1. It works round the clock, every day of the year.
  2. In case of tissues, matching is usually not required.

What is the protocol for organ distribution?

  • The organs would be distributed locally within the State first, and if no match is found, they are then offered regionally, and then nationally, until a recipient is found.
  • If no Indian is available, an NRI should be considered.
  • The question of an international patient arises only when both Indian and NRI patients decline an organ offer.

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