Many people are leery of organ and tissue donation. Most of that uncertainty comes from a lack of knowledge and the myths that are told concerning organ and tissue donation. The more people that are willing to donate organs and tissues, the more lives that can be saved. According to Mayo Clinic, 100,000 people in the United States are waiting for an organ. It is so easy for us to turn a deaf ear to things that do not directly affect us. Sometimes we don’t gain awareness until it is us who needs an organ or tissue donation.
How Does It Work?
There are many fears about organ donation; the fear is not necessarily about donating but about death. Many of us have a fear of death because it is the realm of the unknown. Most of the time organ donation happens once a person dies. There are a few organs that you can donate while living. If you choose to be an organ donor, once you pass away, the doctor will remove all of the organs that are still good and working properly. The next person in line will receive that organ as long as they are the same blood type. For organ donation to work, you have to have the same blood type as the donor or else the body will automatically reject the new organ.
Organ donation is limited while living because you don’t want organ donation to hurt you. Those who are living can donate a kidney, part of the liver, and a lung. In rare cases, the pancreas and parts of the intestine can be donated. Tissue donation is slightly different. You do not have to die to donate tissues. Blood cells and bone marrow are two main types of tissue donation. We hear about giving blood all the time, but we don’t always take the time to stop and give blood. Even giving blood and plasma can save lives.
In deciding whether or not to donate, you should get all the facts. If you desire to donate, and you are under the age of 18, your parents can authorize it. Organs that you need to live will not be taken until you are pronounced dead. Many people are afraid that a doctor may take their organs while they are still alive; this is not the case. They will also do everything they can to keep you alive even if it means putting you on life support. The assumption may be that since you are an organ donor and so many people need organs; the doctor will not do what they should to try to save your life. It is the doctor’s job to do everything they can to save your life; so do not think they want you to die.
Donating organs and tissues is something that only you can agree to do. You should not let anyone force you or pressure you into organ or tissue donation. Due to certain health conditions, you may not be eligible to donate, and that is okay. The best thing to do is get the information you need concerning organ donation and don’t allow any myths to hold you back from donating. April is National Donate Life Month. If you never showed interest before, this month I challenge you to look into it. You could be saving the lives of many people.
For more information on how to become an organ donor and the process involved, please visit http://www.organdonor.gov/