There are a few things you should know about being an organ donor. Organs are removed from the body while a person is still alive or shortly after death. They are then placed in the body of someone who needs the organ to live. While being an organ donor can help save a life and make you a hero, there are still some very important things you should know about being an organ donor. Read on for some interesting facts about organ donation.
1. Who Are Donors?
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, anyone can be an organ donor as long as they are free of cancer, HIV or AIDS and infections. Even minors can donate organs with parental permission. Not all donor organs come from deceased people. Some organs like a lung, a kidney, and part of the liver commonly come from a living donor. Learn more things you should know about being an organ donor.
If you are a minority, you may want to take extra consideration. The USDHHS also says that while donor matches are not based off of race and ethnicity, there is a higher rate of a match when the donor is from the same racial or ethnic background as the recipient.
3. How Are Matches Made?
The Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network is a national database of patients in the U.S. needing transplants. The network operates via a computer program that matches donors based off of blood type, tissue type, height and weight. In the case of multiple matching recipients, the network considers the severity of illness, length of wait, and the distance between the two hospitals.
4. Understand the Need
Consider these facts from the USDHHS about the need for organs. Close to 80 people each day receive an organ transplant, yet 18 people die each day waiting. At the time this post was written, 118,607 candidates were on the wait list for transplants.
Making the choice to donate your organs can be difficult. Some people are not sure of the idea. That is okay, however if you have come to the conclusion that you do want to be an organ donor you must be registered as a donor in your state. Check this link to find the online registration information for your home state: organdonor.gov.
6. Beyond Registration
Take your commitment to being a donor a step further and make your intentions clear to those closest to you. You can get a donor sticker on your driver’s license. Tell your family and friends of your desires to be a donor. Also speak with your doctor about your decision. It is also important to include this information in your living will and advance directives.
7. Spread the Word
Encourage others to consider becoming a donor as well. Become an advocate for organ and tissue donation. Explain to people the benefits of donating and the number of lives to be saved. Don’t forget to mention the number of lives waiting to be saved as well.
Organ donation is a personal choice that only you can make for yourself. I hope that this information has helped you understand the topic better. If you have had an experience with organ or tissue donation please share it with us.