The Truth about Organ and Tissue DonationJuly 10, 2021
Every year, more than 104,000 Americans will need a life-saving organ transplant. Even though there have been amazing advances in life saving organ transplant the transplant waiting lists continue to grow at a rapid rate–a new patient is added every 10 minutes.
One organ and tissue donor can save and improve the lives of up to 75 people by donating 8 organs as well as tissues such as bone, skin, heart valves and connective tissues. However, misconceptions often stop people from registering to became an organ and tissue donor.
Here are the top ten facts that you may not know about organ and tissue donation:
- Most major religions publicly endorse organ donation as the highest gesture of humanitarianism, including Catholicism, Protestantism, Islam and most branches of Judaism. If you are unsure or uncomfortable with your faith’s position on donation, talk to a member of your clergy.
- There are very few medical conditions that would automatically disqualify you from donating any organs and tissues so don’t disqualify yourself. It may turn out that while certain organs are not suitable for transplant, other organs and tissues are fine.
- Family members are never held responsible for any costs related to donation.
- Although it is important to join a donor registry and indicate that you are an organ donor on your driver’s license, it is equally important to speak with your family, friends, and doctors about your decision, so that they are aware of your wishes.
- Your medical history is more important than your age. Organs have been transplanted from donors in their 70s and 80s and even a 95-year-old has recently donated their liver in the United States.
- Potential organ donors are usually admitted to the hospital after illness or an accident, and have usually experienced a brain aneurysm, stroke, or severe head trauma. The team of medical professionals caring for the patient does everything possible to save the patient’s life and have nothing to do with transplantation.
- For those under 18 years of age, parental consent is not required to register, but it is required before donation. Parents of young donors often say their child’s registration gave them peace of mind because it helped them know what their child would have wanted.
- The organ transplant waiting list is blind to wealth and celebrity status. People receive organs based on the severity of the illness, time spent on the waiting list, and blood type.
- Donating an organ will in no way delay funeral arrangements or change any funeral plans. Open casket viewing is possible after any type of donation.
- It is possible to donate to someone who is not a relative and even to someone from another racial or ethnic group. However, transplant success rates do increase when organs are matched between members of the same ethnic background. A lack of organ donation among ethnic populations can lead to longer wait times for individuals within that ethnic group.