Human Tissue Authority

The regulator for human tissue and organs

About Independent Assessors (IAs)

IAs act as a representative of the HTA to ensure the requirements of the Human Tissue Act 2004 (The HT Act) and associated Regulations are met in all cases of living organ donation.

The Human Tissue Authority’s (HTA) role in living organ donation is to ensure that there has been no reward sought or offered for organ donation, that the donor is not under any duress or coercion to donate. We provide an independent check to help protect the interests of living organ donors.  Each individual donor has an opportunity to speak freely to someone not connected with the transplant unit in order to confirm that their wish to donate is free from any pressure.

The HTA trains and accredits IAs to assess living organ transplantation in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

What do IAs do?

Once a living organ donor has undertaken all the necessary clinical investigations and the clinical team are satisfied that the donor is clinically fit to proceed, the case is referred to an IA by the clinician responsible for the care of the donor. 

The IA role involves interviewing the donor and recipient to explore whether the requirements of the legislation have been met.  IAs do not determine the medical suitability of the donor or recipient. Although they work closely with teams in the units, it is important that they bring an “independence of mind” to the IA interview and that any information they might have heard prior to the interview is not used. 

After the interview, the IA has 10 working days to submit an assessment report to the HTA based on the evidence obtained during the interviews with the donor and recipient.

The HTA makes the decision on whether the proposed transplant can proceed or not based on the information provided by the IA in their report to the HTA and any other relevant information gathered as part of its consideration of the case.

Please see the guidance for transplant teams and Independent Assessors for more information on the role of an IA.

Additional information is also available in the HTA’s Code of Practice F on Donation of solid organs and tissue for transplantation.