Organ donation is a very needed service in this country. 22 people a day die because they weren’t able to secure an organ transplant that they needed to stay alive. People who need a healthy organ to survive are placed on a long waiting list, where they must wait until their name comes up. Organ donors are the unsung heroes of this story. You can be one of them. By simply signing a form or indicating that you wish to be an organ donor on your license, you can donate all or some of you organs after you die to someone who needs them desperately. You can literally save up to 8 lives by becoming an organ donor. If you don’t know much about the process of organ donation, here are some basic facts.
You must be older than 18 to consent to organ donation after you die. Children younger can do so only with parental consent. Agreeing to donate your organs does not mean that your medical care will be lessened when you are alive, in order to speed the onset of death. Doctors will give you the same medical care they would give to anyone, but after you die, your healthy major organs will be surgically removed. The incisions will be closed back up, so that the appearance of the post-mortem body is not affected. Your survivors are not expected to pay the medical costs for your donation. This is handled by the recipient’s insurance. The only caveat is that your organs must be healthy in order for them to be eligible for donation. If you have cancer or HIV, you might not be able to donate.
Donating organs when you are alive is a different matter, because it must be considered very seriously before doing so. You can donate an organ while still alive to someone you know or to a complete stranger. Parts of some organs can be donated without affecting the long term health of the living donor at all. The body simply compensates for the missing part.
However, you should know that donating while alive does carry some risk. You may have unexpected complications after surgery, which could produce medical cost in additional treatment. Surgery always involves some pain as well. If you are thinking of becoming a living donor, you should talk to your doctor and others close to you first, to make an informed decision. Becoming a living donor is a wonderful gift you can give to someone else, but it is a decision that must be made by you, and you alone. Organ donors are ordinary people who are given the chance to do something extraordinary for someone else. It’s a rare opportunity to save a life.