China official calls for organ registration

Updated: 2006-11-15 10:35

A Chinese health official has called for a network to register all organ donations, state media said on Wednesday, in what would be a step toward regulating a transplant market that critics say has spurred illegal trade.

Vice Health Minister Huang Jiefu also called for better information to guide those who wish to donate organs, saying China was suffering a huge shortfall in donations.

"There are about 1.5 million people in China who need transplants each year, but only around 10,000 operations can be carried out due to shortages," Xinhua news agency quoted Huang as telling a conference on the subject in the southern city of Guangzhou.

"Huang called for an information network that registers and keeps track of every human organ donation," the report added.

Since July, the sale of human organs in China has been banned. Hospitals now require written consent of donors and restrict the number of hospitals allowed to perform transplant operations.

Huang has said most human organs for transplants come from executed prisoners.

Many Chinese have been unwilling to donate because of traditional rituals and beliefs, Huang said, adding that the absence of laws on the issue and horror stories about botched operations have made the social customs difficult to overcome.

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