Organ transplantation is one of the 20th century’s most miraculous medical breakthroughs. Unfortunately, there simply are not enough organs available to help everyone in need. As a result, 17 people die every day waiting to receive an organ transplant.
Deciding to be an organ donor is a big decision. Make an informed decision. Read these frequently asked questions:
Who can become a donor?
You should always consider yourself a potential organ donor. Your medical condition at the time of death will determine what organs and tissues can be donated.
What organs and tissues can I donate?
Organs include the heart, kidneys, pancreas, lungs, liver and intestines. Tissues include corneas, skin, bone, heart valves, tendons and vessels.
Will my decision to become an organ and tissue donor affect the quality of my medical care?
No. Organ and tissue recovery takes place only after all efforts to save your life have been exhausted and death has been legally declared. The doctors working to save your life are entirely separate from the medical team involved in recovering organs and tissues.
Will donation disfigure my body?
No. Donation neither disfigures the body nor changes the way it looks in a casket.
Does it cost anything to donate organs and tissues?
No. Donation costs nothing to the donor’s family or estate.
Is there an age limit for donating organs?
No set age limit exists for organ donation. At the time of death, the potential donor’s organs are evaluated to determine their suitability for donation. Therefore, people of any age wishing to become organ and tissue donors should complete a donor card and inform their family that they wish to donate.
What medical conditions exclude a person from donating organs?
HIV and actively spreading cancer normally exclude people from donating organs. However, organs are evaluated at the time of death. Therefore, those medical conditions who wish to donate should complete a donor card and share their decision with their family.
Does my religion approve of donation?
Most religions in this country approve of and encourage organ donation and consider it a gift – an act of charity. If you have any questions, contact your religious advisor.
What will happen to my donated organs and tissues?
A national system ensures the fair distribution of organs in the United States. The patients who receive your organs and tissues will be identified based upon such factors as blood type, length of time on the waiting list, severity of illness and other medical criteria. Factors such as race, gender, age, income or celebrity status are not considered when determining who receives an organ. Buying and selling organs is against the law.
Becoming an organ donor is simple. But you can do more.
The Children’s Organ Transplant Association is pleased to offer organ donor cards to the public. If you would like to request organ donor cards, click here for the Donor Card Request Form. Try these activities suggested by the Children’s Organ Transplant Association (COTA) and Donate Life America:
Talk about organ donation with your family, friends and members of your community. By giving just a few moments of your time, you can help increase organ and tissue donation.
If your life has been touched by transplantation, tell your story and spread the word about the vital importance of becoming an organ donor:
The Workplace Partnership for Life, a campaign sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the transplant community, calls on corporations, businesses and organizations of all sizes to share information about organ donation with their employees and promote the opportunity to donate life.
How can your company promote organ donation in the workplace?
Remember, one person can make a difference.