Georgia’s Constitutional Court temporarily blocks organ transplant laws

A Georgian citizen urgently requiring a liver transplant demanded organ transplant rules be changed. Photo by, 26 Nov 2015 - 16:07, Tbilisi,Georgia

A Georgian man urgently needing a liver transplant has successfully appealed to a court to challenge Georgian laws about organ transplants.

Today, the Constitutional Court of Georgia upheld Georgian citizen Levan Gvatua’s plea and temporarily barred a clause in Georgian legislation that forbid live organ transplant unless in certain cases.

Georgian law stated live organ donation was only possible from family members or from a spouse’s relatives. The purpose of this law was to prevent trading of human organs.

However Gvatua appealed to the Constitutional Court to temporarily change this law, as he urgently needed a liver transplant and no one in his closest circle was a suitable donor. His life depended on the organ transplant, he said.

Gvatua appealed to the Court and asked for the strict organ donation rules to be relaxed so the Court could study the law and produce a final verdict.

He said his health was deteriorating and it was a matter of life or death.

Gvatua also said the current law that restricted organ donors contradicted a person’s fundamental human rights, particularly freedom of life, as in his case if he did not find a donor, he would die.

Consequently, the Court upheld Gvatua’s demand and said rejection of a donated liver from an unrelated person could have fatal consequences. 

The restrictions about donating live organs aimed to prevent trading of human organs however the Court said its temporarily ruling would not encourage illegal organ trading as there were numerous measures in place to ensure this did not happen.