Recently, I became a registered organ donor.
I didn’t take this step to receive anything and I have not given anything to anyone yet, but I’m already filled with a sense of satisfaction and inner happiness.
The fact that I will be able to help people even after my death is so overwhelming that I can’t stop smiling. 🙂
I like to help people, either by giving advice, teaching, training, or by writing inspirational articles.
However, the biggest way I can help anyone is to give the gift of life to someone who needs it – by becoming an organ donor.
Organ donation to me is the biggest and greatest charity. In fact, this charity requires the least of your efforts.
You do not have to give any money to anyone, nor do you have to spend your precious time.
All you have to do is register yourself.
To make it more accessible and easy, you can do that online by visiting the national donor registry website, filling in the information asked, and submitting it by clicking a button.
It’s as simple as that!
Among all your web surfing activities, I’m sure this will be your most useful and helpful one if you chose to go this way to donate your organs!
However, I know you would want more information about organ donation and the reasons why should you become an organ donor.
I can say this because I felt the same way, thus went ahead and researched all about organ donation before signing up for it.
I will be more than glad to share the information with you, if it helps you.
“I think you should automatically donate your organs because that would turn the balance of organ donation in a huge way. I would donate whatever anybody would take, and I’d probably do the cremation bit.” ~ George Clooney
An Overview of Contents
What is Organ Donation
According to Wikipedia, organ donation is the donation of biological tissue or an organ of the human body, from a living or dead person to a living recipient in need of a transplantation.
The Cleveland Clinic defines organ donation as the process of surgically removing an organ or tissue from one person (the organ donor) and placing it into another person (the recipient).
In simple words, organ donation takes healthy organs and tissues from one person for transplantation into another.
“Don’t take your organs to heaven with you. Heaven knows we need them here.” ~Author unknown
Which Organs Can Be Donated
Most of the vital organs of a human body can be donated. These are the heart, liver, kidneys, intestines, lungs, and pancreas.
However, these organ transplants are done only in cases of “brain death” of the patients.
In cases of natural death, other organs and tissues can be donated like the corneas, heart valves and veins, skin, bones and tendons, and bone marrow etc.
There are some organs and tissues that can also be donated while the donor is alive. These include one kidney, one lobe of liver, one lung in part or full, and part of the pancreas and the intestines.
Among tissues, living donors can donate blood, blood stem cells, certain bones after knee and hip replacements, bone marrow, skin, and amnion and umbilical cord blood after childbirth.
“Don’t think of organ donations as giving up part of yourself to keep a total stranger alive. It’s really a total stranger giving up almost all of themselves to keep part of you alive. ~Author Unknown
Who Can Become an Organ Donor
The willing living donors should be fit, completely healthy, and in the age range of 18 to 60 years.
However, in case of natural or brain death, even children can be organ donors after the consent of the parents and family members.
In all the cases, the donors are screened for conditions and diseases like HIV, cancer, diabetes, kidney or heart disease etc.
The organ transplant process becomes easier if the donor and recipient’s blood and tissue types match.
There are countries where people are required to “opt in” or register themselves as organ donors, whereas there are also countries that by default consider the brain dead patients as organ donors.
Among such countries that have presumed consent system, some do have an “opt out” facility for those who do not wish to donate their body organs after death.
In the United States, even the non-residents can donate or receive organs, without the citizenship being a hurdle.
How Much Does The Family Matter For Organ Donation
You can judge from this statement in a UK news website that “During 2013/14, more than four in 10 families approached about organ donation, said no to donating a loved one’s organs.”
This is in spite of the deceased having signed to be an organ donor.
Family refusal is the biggest hurdle and problem to organ donation even after its pledged by the dead while living.
That is why it is necessary that people who register for organ donation should let their loved ones know of their decision and request the family member to honor their wish in case of a tragedy.
“Be a blood and organ donor. All it costs is a little love. ~Author Unknown
Why Should You Become an Organ Donor
There are many reasons for you to become an organ donor but I will mention seven reasonable points that you should consider.
From all of the below mentioned reasons, this ONE is a good and solid reason for you to sign up.
Reason 1: “1 organ donor can save up to 8 lives”
Do you need any more convincing? It is not only to one person, but you can give the gift of life to up to eight people!
These may be your known ones or even unknown people, who are waiting in need for transplantation of some body organ or tissue. This is not all.
Reason 2: “You can enhance the lives of over 50 people by way of tissue donation”
The American National Institute of Health verifies this fact of organ donation.
However, even if this falls short, then the following is a big reason for you to be an organ donor:
Reason 3: “There are more potential recipients on organ donation waiting lists than organ donors”
The world needs people like you to help other people even after leaving this world.
Your death may fill your family members with grief, but it can give life to someone and bring happiness to another family.
This is one strong reason why you should sign up for organ donation.
Reason 4: “Giving the ‘Gift of Life’ may lighten the grief of your own family”
The U.S. Government Information on Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation website reports many donor families saying that knowing other lives have been saved, helps them cope with their tragic loss.
It is a major reason why I chose to register for organ donation because I want my family to feel good and proud that I continued to help others even after I was gone.
I’ve one more personal reason.
Reason 5: “Donating organs can help overcome death anxiety”
Believe me, after signing up for organ donation, I already feel assured and content.
I feel that my life would not be futile and my death would be an extension of life, as it would be of use to someone.
Moreover, I’d be gifting life to others. This makes me be less worried about death and more connected to life.
Reason 6: “Organ Donation is the biggest charity”
No doubt, organ donation is the biggest act of giving!
Even if you have not participated in any act of charity earlier, you can do so after your death.
Nevertheless, how much will it cost you?
Reason 7: “Organ donation is going to cost nothing to you or your family members”
The entire organ harvesting and transplantation expenses are borne by the recipients, and they probably have their insurance to take care of that.
If there isn’t much for people to remember after you are gone, they will surely remember you for your act of organ donation.
Remember, you have the power to save lives.
Imagine! You can make people see, breathe, walk, feel, smile, enjoy and enhance their quality of life.
You can do all this by just signing up in your country’s national registry for organ donation.
“You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.” ~Kahlil Gibran
How to Become an Organ Donor
If you are convinced and willing to be an organ donor, the rest is an easy and simple process.
Step 1: Register
Fill up the form and submit it online. You can also indicate which organs you wish to donate.
Step 2: Carry Donor Card
You will receive a donor card. You should sign it and always carry it with you.
Step 3: Discuss with Family
You need to let your family and friends know about your decision and wishes.
Step 4: Driver’s License
Indicate on your driver’s license that you are an organ donor.
Step 5: Promote your Will
You can help spread awareness and motivate others by disclosing your decision on the social media networks. You should also mention your decision in your will.
Depending on the country you reside, you will need to open the website related to organ donation approved by the government or visit its local office, whichever suits you better.
Here, I have compiled a small list of websites of a few countries that accept online registration for organ donation.
United States – Organ Donor
United Kingdom – Organ Donation
Canada – Be a Donor
Australia – Human Services
Philippines – National Kidney and Transplant Institute
Singapore – Live On
South Africa – Organ Donor Foundation
Malaysia – Malaysian Society of Transplantation
Pakistan – Transplantation Society of Pakistan
China – Save Life
This list is not comprehensive. Even the countries mentioned here have many other private and government organization that accept registration for organ donation.
I also wanted to include Nigeria and other countries in this list, but could not find their organ donation website.
I request you to submit the link to your country’s organ donor online registry in your comment if it does not find its mention in this post, so that others can benefit from it.
Here is a small video about organ donation and transplantation. Do watch it.
Donation and Transplantation: How does it work? ~ HRSAtube ~ YouTube video
“The measure of a life, after all, is not its duration, but its donation.” ~ Corrie Ten Boom
Organ Donation Facts
Every year thousands of people all around the world die while waiting for an organ transplant.
This is because they do not find any suitable donor, and not many people come forward to donate their organs.
Globally, over millions of people are currently waiting for an organ transplant. As of August 2014, about 123,300 people in the United States are on the waiting list!
In India, with a population of 1.2 Billion people, there are only 0.08 persons as organ donors per million populations (PMP). This is a very low contribution.
As a result, about 500,000 people die every year because of non-availability of organs.
Countries that have the family consent system like UK, USA, Australia, Germany, and Netherlands have a donation rate of about 10-30 PMP.
Whereas, countries like Singapore, Belgium, and Spain with the presumed consent system have the donation rate of 20-40 PMP.
Austria with an opt-out system, has the highest global consent rate of 99.98% with 21 donor PMP. Spain tops the organ donors contributions with 34 donors per million inhabitants.
Yet, it is not able to meet the requirement of organ donation. More people around the world need to step forward and make this important commitment.
According to Wikipedia, organ trade is the trade involving inner human organs (heart, liver, kidneys, etc.) for organ transplantation.
This was a thriving business until some time ago. Presently, most countries have put a ban on organ trafficking and illegal transplant tourism.
However, some countries like Iran, Australia, and Singapore have legalized monetary compensations for organ donors.
Yet, sadly, the black marketing and illegal trade of human organs continues. It would only stop when more and more people pledge to donate their organs after death.
“What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.” ~ Albert Pike
Organ Donation Day
There are various days assigned for organ donation in various countries.
In the US, April 11 is celebrated as the blue and green day in an effort to spread awareness about organ, eye, and tissue donation and transplantation.
Few sites there mention February 14 as the National Organ Donor Day.
Some celebrate August 6 as the World Organ Donation Day.
And India is beginning its Organ Donation Day on August 13 this year.
All Indians who have made up their minds to contribute to this noble cause can visit the “Organ Donation Day” website and register themselves, just as Harleena and I did!
Having said that, there is no day or age to be an organ donor. You can take action anytime, even NOW!
How inspired and motivated are you after reading this post and watching the video?
Please take a moment to let me know your opinion by taking this poll:
Besides family consent, there are more hurdles to organ donation and transplant, and these are myths about organ donation and religious beliefs.
I may write another post later about the myths people have regarding donating their organs and how we can deal with them.
“Life’s most urgent question is: What are you doing for others?” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
Kindly share this post among your friends and followers to create more awareness about organ donation. This is to persuade more and more people to become organ donors.
Please use any of the resources mentioned in this post. I hope you all act to give people a second life.
Be a happy organ donor. 🙂
Share Your Thoughts –
What do you think about organ donation? Would you become an organ donor? If not, then what are your reservations or what’s stopping you to be one? Share in the comments.
Photo Credit: FreeDigitalPhotos
Disclaimer: None of the links in this post are affiliate links! 🙂
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