The Human Organ Transplant Act (HOTA) allows for the organs (kidney, liver, heart and cornea) of Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents to be donated in the event of death, for the purpose of transplantation only.
HOTA was first enacted in 1987 to allow for the kidneys of all non-Muslim Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents between the ages of 21 to 60, to be donated in the event of accidental death for transplantation only.
Subsequently in 2004, the Human Organ Transplant (Amendment) Bill was passed by Parliament to allow more Singaporeans to benefit from deceased donor organs, by extending HOTA beyond kidneys to also include the liver, heart and corneas. The Bill was also extended beyond deaths caused by accidents to include all causes of death. The regulation of living-donor transplantation was also put under the purview of HOTA. This expansion of HOTA to include more organs has helped save many more lives.
HOTA was again amended in August 2008 to include Muslim Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents who were excluded from HOTA when it was first enacted in 1987. The amendment meant that Muslims who have not opted out of HOTA would receive the same priority as those who are included under HOTA or MTERA should the need for a donor organ arise. This also meant that the organ donor pool would further increase.
To put all this into perspective, prior to HOTA in 1987, deceased donor kidney transplantation was only at an average of 5 per year. The period from the enactment of HOTA in 1987 to its amendment in 2004 witnessed 222 patients undergoing deceased donor kidney transplantation. This was a rise in deceased donor kidney transplantation rates to an average of 13 per year. Subsequently, from 2004 until 2012, another 359 kidney patients benefited from such a transplant.