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Organ donors will have to opt-in under transplant and tissue law

The Ministry of Health is asking for the public’s feedback on regulations regarding human tissue transplants and donations. The legislation, passed in 2013, will set up a framework to create an organ donor registry on island.

“It will help save peoples lives both locally and overseas, and it will be a tremendous benefit,” said Chief Officer Jennifer Ahearn.

Five years after the passage of the human tissue transplant law in 2013, government is moving forward with implementation.

“The legislation basically sets up a framework to create an organ donor network here in the Cayman Islands, and human tissue transplant council to oversee both the organ donor network and the activities around organ donation and transportation, it is also to create a framework to govern tissue banks and tissue transplant centers,” said Ms. Ahearn.

She told Cayman 27 the legislation is sensitive to those, who for cultural or religious reasons, are opposed to organ donation.

“Because the system is an opt in system, it doesn’t, it means that people will have the opportunity to register if they want to but nobody will have to register, so if an individual doesn’t believe in medical procedures that they wouldn’t be part of, or if they just don’t want to participate, they don’t have to,” said Ms. Ahearn.

She said the law has provisions prohibiting individuals for selling their own organs for quick cash.

“One of the concerns that we looked at addressing with the legislation is around human tissue trafficking, or human trafficking for tissues and organs, and that is one of the reasons why we want to make sure that we have a robust governing framework, legislative framework in place to govern it, to make sure that we are protecting against those types of things happening in making sure that it is adhering to best practices,” she said.

She said the ministry wants to hear from the public before the regulations head to cabinet.

“There are so many people who can do benefit from one individual signing up as an organ donor, and we really want to make sure that people take advantage of the opportunity to do that when it is established,” she explained. “The ministry says they are planning stakeholder meetings and open houses for the public next month.”

Public comment on the proposed regulations should be submitted by mail to Janett Flynn, Senior Policy Advisor, Ministry of Health, Environment, Culture and Housing, P.O. Box 110, George Town, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands, KY1-9000; by email to Janett.flynn@gov.kyor in person at the Government Administration Building, Elgin Avenue, Grand Cayman. Comments should be submitted by 7 May, 2018.

About the author

Joe Avary

Joe Avary

Joe Avary has been with Cayman 27 since 2014. He brings 20 years in television experience to the job, working hard every day to bring the people of Cayman stories that inform the public and make a difference in the community. Joe hopes his love for the Cayman Islands shines through in his informative and entertaining weather reports. If you have a story idea for Joe or just want to say hello, call him at 324-2141 or send an email to

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