Is donating your organs worth it when half of recipients would refuse the organ?
According to News 18, a new survey by Edelweiss Tokio Life Insurance and Karvy Insights was released to honor Organ Donation Awareness Month. The survey found that more than half Indians would not accept an organ if it was from LGBTQ donors.
The survey asked 1565 respondents from 12 cities in India for their thoughts on the matter. It turns out, 56 percent of respondents said they wouldn’t take the organs from LGBTQ donors. Meanwhile, 54 percent expressed the opinion that LGBTQ people shouldn’t be allowed to donate in the first place.
It seems there are still some homophobic tendencies in the country of India despite the decriminalization of gay sex. India’s Supreme Court ruled last year that criminalizing consensual gay sex was unconstitutional. The ruling was heard around the world with many advocates in other Asian countries using it as precedent and example in their own fight against similar colonial-era laws. Despite gay sex and homosexuality being legal now, the country is still adjusting to its new reality.
Unfortunately, one aspect that still needs adjustment is public perceptions of LGBTQ people when it comes to health and medicine. Not only are organ donation receivers distrusting of organs from LGBTQ people, but health organizations are too. The National AIDS Control Organization, which regulates the treatment of AIDS in India, classifies LGBTQ donors as high risk. Because of this, LGBTQ people are banned from donating blood.
That said, homophobia is not the only reason for this survey’s response. Spirituality unrelated to sexual orientation is connected as well. Specifically, belief in reincarnation. The survey found that one out of five respondents believed organ donation could affect the rebirth process. 19 percent believed that donating an organ would result in reincarnation without that specific organ.
Even further, other factors played into respondents’ opposition to organ donation. 46 percent of Indian respondents felt that organ donation was a scam while 43 percent would not do it because of familial pressure.
Because of all these problems, India has the lowest rates of organ donation in the world. The amount is 0.5 per million people. This, of course, has negative effects on health within the country. According to the Mohan Foundation, almost 5 lakh patients die each year in India. These deaths are usually due to the shortage of organs.
All of that said, some have already criticized the survey because of its sample size. With only 1,565 compared to India’s population of 1.339 billion, some have criticized the sample size of being too small and not diverse enough to truly reflect the thoughts of Indians as a whole.