International Society for Organ Donation and Procurement Update

Over 450 donation experts from across the world attended the ISODP Congress in Geneva, organized by the ISODP as a Section of TTS, Professor Phillippe Morel from the University Hospital in Geneva, and Swiss Transplant. The congress was the leading event in the last two years summarizing what is new, what is well established and what needs further evaluation in the field of organ donation of both living and deceased donors. Information sharing and improving current practice are the main goals of the ISODP and this biennial congress once again highlighted these initiatives with high visibility and focus. Recordings will be available on the ISODP website soon.

Organizers fulfilled the promise to address controversial topics and to discuss new ways of improving organ donation. Dr. Alvin E. Roth, professor of economics and Nobel Laureate introduced a program of Global Kidney Exchange (GKE) with the intention to help people from developing economy countries, who are unable to raise funds even for dialysis treatment, to share organs from a voluntary live donor with a patient from a country with full health care coverage. The aim is to find a suitable transplant for a recipient and vice versa use the cost savings from dialysis to fund transplant in a foreign recipient. Lively debate illuminated the questions and controversy over this proposal. Professionals in the field of organ donation are not responsible for death determination but must be well versed in the evolving scientific practice in death determination.

As was stated in an earlier article, the DICG, together with TTS, the ISN, the World Health Organization, the Transplantation Society of Latin America and the Caribbean (STALYC), and the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, recently joined with the Red/Consejo Iberoamericano de Donacion y Trasplantes (RCIDT) in expressing ethical opposition to a Global Kidney Exchange program which has been the topic of considerable debate at recent international meetings. Some DICG Council members have already co-authored commentary papers discussing this issue, which can be found on the Declaration of Istanbul website. The DICG is currently working on a document that will assist transplant professionals and policy makers in understanding the ethical concerns of the proposed GKE program.

Keynote speaker Dr. Sam D. Shemie, critical care physician and ECMO specialist at the Montreal Children’s Hospital, delivered a stimulating lecture on “Harmonizing Practices in the Field of Determination of Death Globally.” His talk highlighted an approach to overcome the dualistic view of death as either brain death or circulatory death and instead derive a common death determination that can be certified worldwide.

The members of the society have elected a new board and council with Susan Gunderson, Minnesota, USA, as President for the upcoming two years.

Finally, we were pleased to announce the 15th Congress will be held in Dubai in November 2019.