Only people age 15 or older should be allowed to donate their organs for transplants after their death, the Health and Welfare Ministry proposed Aug. 18, according to ministry officials.
The ministry proposal is contained in draft guidelines detailing procedures for organ transplants the ministry presented to an expert committee of the Council on Public Health, the officials said.
The ministry has already presented the Organ Transplant Expert Committee with draft enforcement regulations for the organ transplant law that set forth criteria for determining brain death, ways to log organ extractions and transplants, and related ministry ordinances.
The draft guidelines spell out procedural details not provided for under the enforcement regulations. These include the scope of relatives who will be allowed to refuse the pronouncement of brain death or organ offers for transplant, the officials said.
Under the draft guidelines, an organ can be extracted from a brain-dead patient only after the person in question or relatives have consented to the extraction, they said.
Eligible relatives whose consent must be obtained include the donor’s spouse, children, grandchildren, parents, grandparents and any other relative with whom the donor lived.
Under the guidelines, organ extractions and transplants are allowed only when a second brain death pronouncement is made six hours after the first, the sources said.
The guidelines limit medical institutions that can offer organ transplants to university hospitals and institutions designated as leading medical institutions by the Japanese Association for Acute Medicine, they said.
The committee is to hold its next meeting Aug. 25 and is expected to present guidelines outlining specific methods for determining brain death, they said.