Organ donation may be one of the most selfless things that you can do as you provide one or more of your organs after your passing to help someone else or possibly even a large number of people continue theirs. Organ donation is especially needed as about 30 Americans die every day because they did not have access to a donated organ. However, many do not completely understand it and are sometimes hesitant to take part as a result.
Children Can Donate as Well
Of course, those under the age of 18 are not able to authorize this decision on their own. However, they can communicate their wishes to their parents or legal guardians, who can then okay the process if they agree with the decision. The main reason why this is a necessary aspect of organ donation is because children are in need of them just as much as adults, and they oftentimes need smaller organs than what an adult donor can provide.
People at the Other end of the Age Spectrum Can Donate Too
One of the most important things that you can do is not disqualify yourself due to age or for any other reason. There is no set age cutoff, so allow the doctors to make the determination themselves at that time. It’s much better to have your organs be available when you are unsure if they could have helped as opposed to not making them accessible and creating a zero possibility that they can then be used.
Donating While You’re Alive is Becoming More Common
The most common organs being donated by live people are kidneys, and you can now do so to help anybody, not just family members as had been the case in the past. Once you make the decision, you will be thoroughly informed of the process and any risks that may be associated with it. Note that it is illegal in the United States to receive money for donating organs, regardless of whether that is done while you are alive or after you have died.
You Cannot Donate Organs and Your Body to Science, but You Can Be on Both Lists
If you are considering donating your body to medical science, rest assured that you can also be available for organ donation too in many locations. The catch is that you cannot end up doing both. Due to its direct impact on saving lives, organ donation would take precedence, but if none of your organs are necessary for those purposes, then your entire body could be used by medical scientists as they get trained in their field and learn how to save lives down the line. However, do note that the ability to be on both lists may not be possible in some locales.
Minorities Are Especially Encouraged to Donate
Of course, whenever possible, the race of the donating person as well as the recipient are ignored. However, transplant success rates do tend to be higher when both are from the same ethnic or racial group. In addition to that, many minority groups are in greater need of a donation. For example, more than half of those in North Carolina needing an organ are African-American, but less than a quarter of that state’s population is African-American.
About 120,000 people are on a waiting list for an organ, and some of those unfortunately die while waiting for that organ. However, only 48 percent are signed up as donors despite 95 percent of people supporting organ donation; fortunately, those figures do mean that the potential is there to meet the demand.