Korean J Transplant.  2021 Sep;35(3):137-142. 10.4285/kjt.21.0022.

Improving self-sufficiency in organ transplantation in Korea

  • 1Division of Nephrology, National Medical Center, Seoul, Korea
  • 2Vitallink, Seoul, Korea
  • 3Department of Surgery, KangNam Sacred Heart Hospital, Hallym University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
  • 4Division of Nephrology, Inje University Busan Paik Hospital, Busan, Korea
  • 5Department of Internal Medicine, Hallym University Kangnam Sacred Heart Hospital, Seoul, Korea
  • 6Department of Surgery, Konkuk University Medical Center, Seoul, Korea
  • 7Department of Surgery, Kyung Hee University Medical Center, Seoul, Korea
  • 8Division of Nephrology, Seoul National University Bundang Hospital, Seongnam, Korea
  • 9Department of Surgery, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
  • 10Department of Surgery, Transplantation Research Institute, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
  • 11Korea Organ Donation Agency, Seoul, Korea
  • 12Department of Surgery, Keimyung University School of Medicine, Daegu, Korea


After attaining a qualified medical capacity in organ transplantation, Korea has been struggling to increase the number of deceased organ transplants to reach self-sufficiency. As one of these efforts, Korea revised the organ transplantation law in 2010 by adding three articles the mandatory reporting based on the recommendation of the 3rd Global Consultation on Organ Transplantation of Madrid in 2010. Along with the new constitution, considerable efforts have been initiated to upgrade the deceased organ transplantation system while maintaining the virtues of fairness, justice, and transparency. The Korean Society of Transplantation played a critical role in revising the law as well as in establishing organizations such as the Korean Organ Donation Agency (KODA; 2009), the Vitallink (2009), and the Korean Organ Transplantation Registry (KOTRY; 2010). By the activities of these professional organizations, Korea could implement fundamental programs such as mandatory reporting and could develop various education programs for organ donation for students and the general population. As a result, the number of deceased donors increased from 1.08 p.m.p. (2000) to 9.23 p.m.p.(2020). Further efforts are needed to increase the number of organ donor cardholders and family consent rates by well-designed, target-specific education programs to overcome traditional negative cultural barriers toward organ donation. The community atmosphere of honoring and thanking donors and their families should be nurtured by national and regional activities of life-sharing weeks linked with organ donor memorial parks.


Korean organ transplantation; Deceased organ transplantation; Self-sufficiency; Organ donation
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