Date
12 November 2019
Professor Jeremy Teoh (C), an assistant professor at CUHK Department of Surgery, is shown here at the premiere of a short film on organ donations on Sunday. He said there is room to boost the number of  registered organ donors. Photo: HKEJ
Professor Jeremy Teoh (C), an assistant professor at CUHK Department of Surgery, is shown here at the premiere of a short film on organ donations on Sunday. He said there is room to boost the number of registered organ donors. Photo: HKEJ

Only 3 in 10 HKers willing to donate organs after death: survey

While there has been an ongoing call for organ donations in Hong Kong, only 31 percent of people in the city are willing to donate their organs after death, according to a survey conducted by the Jockey Club School of Public Health and Primary Care of the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK).

Meanwhile, 43 percent of the respondents in the survey said they have not yet decided whether or not they willing to do so, the survey commissioned by the CUHK’s S.H. Ho Urology Centre found.

The remaining 26 percent declined to donate their organs after death.

The survey, whose results were released on Sunday, was based on interviews of 1,000 citizens aged above 18 through random phone calls in April and May this year, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported.

Asked why they refuse to donate their organs, nearly nine in 10 cited personal or religious beliefs. Thirty-one percent of the respondents said they want to keep their body intact while others cite objections from their family.

The survey also found that among those who are willing to be organ donors, up to 66 percent admitted that they have never registered for organ donation.

Among these people, 52 percent admitted insufficient motivation as their reason, 47.8 percent said they were too busy and 37.8 said they were too lazy.

As the existing mechanism requires the family’s consent even after a registered donor dies, 45 percent of those who wish to donate their organs revealed that they have never told their families about it.

Currently, about 310,000 people have registered as organ donors.

Professor Jeremy Teoh Yuen-chun, an assistant professor at CUHK Department of Surgery, said he believes that the number still has certain room to grow as the survey found that 31 percent of the respondents said they were not aware of the existence of the Centralised Organ Donation Register.

Teoh said there are also quite a number of misconceptions about organ donations. He said over 60 percent of those interviewed thought only people who are completely healthy are allowed to donate, while nearly 35 percent thought only young people are qualified for organ donations.

Organ donations can come from living or brain-dead people, and there is generally no specific age limit for the latter, known as the cadaveric donations, Teoh said. 

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