China is drafting new laws to make it easier for people to donate their organs in a country with long transplant waiting lists, the Xinhua news agency said on Tuesday.

There are about two million people in China who need transplants each year, but only around 20,000 operations are carried out because of shortages, Xinhua said.

China earlier this year banned the sale of human organs, and the health ministry now requires the written consent of donors and restricts the number of hospitals allowed to perform transplant operations.

The regulations will standardize the organ donation procedures and encourage people to become donors.

"Many more donors are needed, but they often meet difficulties when they apply, so the ministry must standardize the application process and technology of transplants, which is complicated and risky," said ministry spokesman Mao Qun’an.

Mao was responding to questions about reports of would-be donors having their wishes unrealized because of confusion over the procedures or which agency to apply to.

The regulation would specify the whole application process and stipulate the requirements for medical institutions conducting transplants.

"Only the medical institutions that meet the technological requirements can undertake transplant surgery," said Mao.

Foreign media have reported that organs are taken from executed criminals, but the Ministry of Health denied this in April, saying most organs in China had been voluntarily donated by ordinary citizens on their deaths and a small number from executed criminals who voluntarily signed donation approvals.

1. Corneas:
Allow light to enter eye.
Transplant restores sight to those with corneal damage.

2. Skin:
Protects the body from dehydration, injury and infection.
Used as treatment for burn patients.
Decreases pain, infection, scarring, heat and fluid loss.

3. Lungs:
Organs of respiration
Transplant treats cystic fibrosis, emphysema, or other end-stage lung disease.

4. Heart:
Pumps blood to all body systems.
Transplant is treatment for end-stage heart disease.

5. Valves:
Direct flow of blood through heart.
Transplant replaces diseased heart valves.

6. Liver:
Instrumental in energy regulation, makes proteins, removes waste from blood.
Transplant is treatment for end-stage liver disease.

7. Bones:
Supports the body, protects vital organs.
Used in facial reconstruction, prevention of amputation, correction of birth defects, cancer treatment, spinal fusion and oral surgery.

8. Cartilage / Ligaments:
Connective tissue.
Used in facial and other reconstructive surgery.

9. Veins:
Transport blood.
Used for coronary by-pass surgery to replace diseased or blocked arteries.

10. Kidneys:
Extract waste from the blood and produce important hormones.
Transplant eliminates need for dialysis for patients with end-stage kidney disease.

11. Pancreas:
Secretes enzymes necessary for digestion, secretes insulin that helps regulate blood sugar.
For treating diabetes, transplant eliminates the need for insulin injections, reduces risk of losing sight or limb.

12. Intestines:
Digestive organ that absorbs water, electrolytes and nutrients for the body.
Transplant is treatment for malabsorption, a disease that prevents the absorption of necessary nutrients (most common in young children).