Under new Federal Law No. 5 of 2016, residents of the UAE can now legally donate certain organs (heart, lungs, kidneys to name a few) and tissues (bones, cornea, heart valves, etc…).
The procedure can be done by both living and deceased people. For living donors, it is “restricted to relatives within the fourth degree and couples married for at least two years”.
However, the law prohibits the “sale” of human organs and tissues, bans unlicensed advertising of transplants as well as funding transplantation if the organs are sold. A person caught making money off organs faces a fine, and possibly prison time.
According to Ameen Al Amiri, assistant undersecretary at the Ministry of Health and Prevention for Public Health Policy and Licensing, “the new law regulates transplantation of human organs and tissues, which saves many lives and restores essential functions for many otherwise untreatable patients”.
The law introduces sweeping changes to healthcare governance in the country, challenging already existing cultural norms.