A private member’s bill that would give priority for receiving transplant organs to those who donated one of their own (kidneys or liver lobes) to others, including relatives, was approved Monday by the Knesset Labor, Welfare and Health Committee for its first reading in the plenum.

The bill, initiated by Meretz MK Zehava Gal-On and committee chairman Haim Katz (Likud), expands the giving of extra points to people who register as potential organ donors through ADI, the National Transplant Center.

Gal-On said that those who give their own organ go through such a difficult process, and there is “no difference in suffering between those who gave to a stranger and those who donated to a relative.”

The bill has received government support, she added.

Dina Abecassis, who gave a kidney to her sick brother 15 years ago, said that her rehabilitation from the operation took more than three months.

“Family members should be encouraged to donate, because this involves 99 percent compatibility. I call on making this change retroactive to benefit those who have already donated, as I did, and not only from when the law is enacted.”

Amos Kanaf, chairman of the National Association for Kidney Recipients, said that today, “people donate organs because they have no choice, as there are almost no such organs from the deceased. At least relatives who give should be compensated.”

Health Ministry legal department representative Meir Broder welcomed the bill, adding that people who donate their own organs are at some health risk, and knowing they have higher priority to receive an organ gets a safety net.

Katz said that “hundreds of patients are waiting now for a donated organ, and the bill we presented makes it possible for relatives to give. As the legislative process continues, we will discuss the possibility of including family members who have already donated to their loved ones.”

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