Pediatrics group may accept child organ donations

Kyodo News

The Japan Pediatric Society is thinking about dropping its opposition to harvesting the organs of brain-dead children for transplants.

Shumpei Yokota, president of the group, said at a news conference in Tokyo on Sunday it has set up a committee to discuss the issue.

Until now, the organization has supported the ban on donors under age 15, citing the lack of measures to prevent violent parents from concealing their behavior by arranging transplants of organs from brain-dead abused children.

The group has also cited the difficulty of determining brain death of children.

But Yokota said the knowhow at Japanese hospitals to uncover cases of child abuse has advanced, allowing his organization to start discussions on transplants using organs from brain-dead children. The committee aims to reach a conclusion by year’s end, he said.

Because of the ban, many Japanese children who need organ transplants have traveled overseas in search of donors.