Dementia and planning ahead for your parents: What you need to know about end-of-life matters

Organ donations are other ways to leave a legacy. For instance, brain tissue samples that are donated to Brain Bank Singapore are giving researchers insights into how brain damage, specifically in Asians, give rise to dementia and other disorders such as Parkinson’s disease and depression. Should your parents wish to donate their organs for medical research after death, there are three acts to look into.  

1. Human Organ Transplant Act (HOTA)

Eligibility: All Singaporeans and Permanent Residents aged 21 years and above are automatically included, unless they have a mental disorder or have opted out.

Organs included: Liver, kidneys, heart and corneas only.

Use: Transplantation and treatment only.

2. Medical (Therapy, Education, and Research) Act (MTERA)

Eligibility: This opt-in scheme is for anyone in Singapore with mental capacity, and aged 18 years and above.

Organs included: All organs and tissues, including skin and bone.

Use: Transplantation and treatment, education and research.

3. Human Biomedical Research Act (HBRA)

Eligibility: This act, which covers Brain Bank Singapore, has an opt-in scheme for anyone in Singapore over 21 years old, including healthy individuals as well as those without mental capacity such as patients with neurological or psychiatric disorders. For patients without mental capacity, consent has to be provided by the appropriate next-of-kin or LPA.

Organs included: Tissues donated to Brain Bank Singapore include brain and cerebrospinal fluid with the option of donating spinal cord, gut tissues, peripheral nerves, lymph nodes, muscle tissues and/or spleen.

Use: Medical research and medical education only; not for transplantation and treatment.

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