Organ donation is the process of giving an organ or a part of an organ for the purpose of transplantation into another person. Both deceased and living organ donation begins with a person who recognizes an opportunity to help others.
Facts about organ donation
- Only important medical information, such as severity of your illness, time spent waiting, blood type, and other medical criteria are important for receiving an organ offer.
- Anyone can become an organ donor, no matter how old you are. Your medical condition at the time of death will determine what organs and tissue can be donated.
- All major religions approve of organ and tissue donation and consider it an act of charity.
- Organs and tissues that can be donated include: heart, kidneys, lungs, pancreas, liver, intestines, corneas, skin, tendons, bone, and heart valves.
- Even if you have indicated your wishes on your drivers’ license or in a national or state registry, be sure you have told your family so they understand your decision. Sign up to be an organ donor in your state.
The basic path to deceased donation
The organ donation process begins with a decision. You recognize the opportunity to help others by donating your organs when you die. You enroll in your state’s donor registry and share your decision with your family and friends. When your time comes, your organs may be used to save many lives. People most frequently become donors after a stroke, heart attack or a severe head injury. Even though cases vary, there are several basic steps in donation from deceased donors.
More than 118,000 people are waiting for transplants, but the demand for organs far exceeds the supply. Living donation offers another choice for transplant candidates, and it extends the supply of organs.
Kidney paired donation
Kidney paired donation (KPD) is a transplant option for candidates who have a living donor who is medically able, but cannot donate a kidney to their intended candidate because they are incompatible (i.e., poorly matched).
The National Donor Memorial
Located at United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) in Richmond, Virginia, the National Donor Memorial honors America’s organ and tissue donors. The theme of the National Donor Memorial is “Hope, Renewal, Transformation.” The memorial garden symbolically leads visitors through the organ and tissue donation experience.
Every ten minutes, someone is added to the national transplant waiting list.