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Keywords:

  • Brain death;
  • Declaration of Istanbul;
  • organ allocation;
  • organ donation rate;
  • organ shortage;
  • registered donors;
  • transplant tourism;
  • waiting list mortality

Israel's organ donation rate has always been among the lowest in Western countries. In 2008 two new laws relevant to organ transplantation were introduced. The Brain-Respiratory Death Law defines the precise circumstances and mechanisms to determine brain death. The Organ Transplantation Law bans reimbursing transplant tourism involving organ trade, grants prioritization in organ allocation to candidates who are registered donors and removes disincentives for living donation by providing modest insurance reimbursement and social supportive services. The preliminary impact of the gradual introduction and implementation of these laws has been witnessed in 2011. Compared to previous years, in 2011 there was a significant increase in the number of deceased organ donors directly related to an increase in organ donation rate (from 7.8 to 11.4 donors per million population), in parallel to a significant increase in the number of new registered donors. In addition the number of kidney transplantations from living donors significantly increased in parallel to a significant decrease in the number of kidney transplantations performed abroad (from 155 in 2006 to 35 in 2011). The new laws have significantly increased both deceased and living organ donation while sharply decreasing transplant tourism.