An Ecuadorean woman’s fight to donate a kidney to her sick sister-in-law has set off a national debate over laws regulating organ donation.
Daniela Peralta is waging an online campaign challenging an Ecuadorean law that says patients can only receive organ donations from direct blood relatives or a spouse. The 2011 law, which was designed to crack down on black market organ transplants, has prohibited Peralta, 32, from donating a kidney to her sister-in-law, Susy Hinojosa, even though she's compatible.
No one in Hinojosa’s immediate family can donate a kidney to help her. Three of her brothers were ruled out for medical reasons, and her husband is incompatible. Now Hinojosa, 36, will likely wind up at the bottom of a waiting list, behind 444 other people who are already waiting for a transplant.
"Other people have faced this situation and decided to go quietly and wait their turn," said Peralta. "I decided to take a different approach.”
Peralta initially appealed to Ecuadorean health officials to reconsider her sister-in-law’s case. But after the request was denied earlier this month, she launched a social media campaign, #YoTengoDerechoADonar, or “I Have a Right to Donate” on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
“I don’t take no for an answer well,” Peralta said. “I can’t accept hearing the word no, especially when a life is hanging in the balance.”
The campaign quickly resonated with Ecuadoreans ,who are backing Peralta's online campaign and the right to donate organs.
"@dannymperalta wants to donate her kidney to save her sister-in-law's law but they won't allow it, has the world gone crazy?"
"If I could donate, I would. How can we deny Ecuadoreans the opportunity to give and receive life?"
Peralta hopes a judge will rule to make an exception for her sister-in-law, but she said she is considering taking the case all the way to Ecuador’s Constitutional Court. She says her campaign has also drawn the attention of the president, who had someone from his office contact her to discuss the case.
This weekend, Peralta will rally Ecuadoreans in a public show of support calling for the law to be revised.
“Why can’t the law be more flexible and allow cases to be analyzed on an individual basis?” she asked. “It just seems so unfair.”