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Deceased organ donation registration and familial consent among Chinese and South Asians in Ontario, Canada


Objective — For various reasons, people of Chinese (China, Hong Kong or Taiwan) and South Asian (Indian  subcontinent) ancestry (the two largest ethnic minority groups in Ontario, Canada) may be less likely to register for deceased organ donation than the general public, and their families may be less likely to consent for deceased organ donation at the time of death.

Methods — We conducted two population-based studies: (1) a cross-sectional study of deceased organ donor registration as of May 2013, and (2) a cohort study of the steps in proceeding with deceased organ donation for patients who died in hospital from October 2008 to December 2012.

Results — A total of 49,938 of 559,714 Chinese individuals (8.9%) and 47,774 of 374,291 South Asians (12.8%) were registered for deceased organ donation, proportions lower than the general public (2,676,260 of 10,548,249) (25.4%). Among the 168,703 Ontarians who died in a hospital, the families of 33 of 81 Chinese (40.1%; 95% CI: 30.7%-51.6%) and 39 of 72 South Asian individuals (54.2%; 95% CI: 42.7-65.2%) consented for deceased organ  donation, proportions lower than the general public (68.3%; 95% CI: 66.4%-70.0%).

Conclusions —  In Ontario, Canada Chinese and South Asian individuals are less likely to register and their families are less likely to consent to deceased organ donation compared to the remaining general public. There is an opportunity to build support for organ and tissue donation in these two large ethnic communities in Canada.



Li AH, McArthur E, Maclean J, Isenor C, Prakash V, Kim SJ, Knoll G, Shah B, Garg AX. PLoS One. 2015; 10(7):e0124321.

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Contributing ICES Scientists