Deceased Organ Donation Registration and Familial Consent among Chinese and South Asians in Ontario, Canada

PLoS One. 2015 Jul 31;10(7):e0124321. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0124321. eCollection 2015.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Asia / ethnology
  • Cadaver*
  • China / ethnology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Family*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Ontario
  • Tissue and Organ Procurement*
  • Young Adult

Grant support

This Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) project was conducted by the Kidney, Dialysis and Transplantation program at the ICES Western site. ICES is funded by an annual grant from the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-term Care. Core funding for ICES Western is provided by the Academic Medical Organization of Southwestern Ontario, the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry (SSMD), Western University, and the Lawson Health Research Institute. The ICES Kidney, Dialysis and Transplantation receives programmatic operating grant support from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. Mr. Li was supported by a doctoral scholarship from the Kidney Foundation of Canada and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. The opinions, results and conclusions are those of the authors and are independent from the funding sources. No endorsement by these organizations is intended or should be inferred. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.