Top 5 Reasons You SHOULD Register to Be an Organ and Tissue Donor
1- People truly NEED these lifesaving gifts! There are 116,512 people in the United States on the waiting list (as of 09/11/2017 per UNOS)! These individuals have families, friends, and co-workers who feel the agony of waiting alongside with them. While sometimes other artificial methods of sustaining life do exist, such as dialysis, these are not long-term solutions. In order to return to living their lives fully, those individuals need someone to take the selfless act to donate.
2- It's FREE to register and donate your organs and tissues! Yes, FREE. Zero costs. Nada. Zip. If you decide to register as an organ and tissue donor, you can rest assured that your family will not be burdened with any costs related to the donation. Those costs are covered by transplant recipients' insurance/Medicare and the organ recovery organizations. It's hard to say no to saving lives for free!
3- You might never know when you or your loved one might end up on the waiting list. It's hard to predict our life path, especially when it comes to our health. Genetics and our environment can impact our physical body, especially our organs. Would you be willing to accept an organ for yourself or for a loved one? That can be a difficult question to answer and one that is important to discuss with the entire family.
4- You can give people the ability to be mobile! And no, we are not talking cell phones. Tissue donation can include the gift of tendons, ligaments, bones, and other soft connective tissue that allows individuals the ability to walk, run, dance, and skip again.
5- You can give life, even in death. If you could save up to one life through the gift of organ and tissue donation, why not? In fact, one organ and tissue donor can save up to eight lives and enhance up to 50 more. Those lives saved have names. They are children; they are sisters and brothers. They are parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents. They are teachers, firefighters, business owners. They laugh and love. They feel pain and guilt and sorrow. No one wants to be on the waiting list. They certainly hope all of the rest of us understand that too.
If I am in an accident, and the hospital knows I want to be a donor, they will withhold medical treatment and not attempt to save my life.
FALSE. Medical staff will do everything they can to save your life. The doctors and nurses that work to save your life are not the same doctors and nurses involved with organ and tissue donation. It is only after every attempt has been made to save your life that donation is considered. In fact, from a medical standpoint, patients must receive the most aggressive life-saving care in order to be potential donors.
Famous or rich people get organ transplants first.
FALSE. UNOS and the country’s transplant centers have created a waiting list, which lists each waiting recipient by weight, height and blood group. Priority depends on scientific and medical factors, including urgency of need, length of time on the waiting list, blood type and organ size compatibility. Factors such as race, gender, age, income, or celebrity status are never considered when determining who receives an organ.
Donation disfigures the body.
FALSE. Donation does not disfigure the body or change the way it looks in a casket. Every donor is treated with great care and dignity during the donation process including careful reconstruction of one’s body. Donation as a rule does not delay funeral plans.
My family will be charged if I donate my organs.
False. Donation costs nothing to the donor’s family or estate. Organ and tissue donation is a gift. All costs and expenses incurred after your death and related to donation through the recovery of the organs, eyes and tissues will be the donor agencies responsibility. Medical costs not related directly to donation and funeral costs are the responsibility of your estate, family or other responsible party.
My family will receive money for my donation.
FALSE. It is illegal to buy or sell human organs or tissue.
Organ and tissue donation is a gift.
The family receives no payment or reimbursement for donation.
My religion does not approve of donation.
FALSE. Most major religions, with the exception of Shinto, approve of organ and tissue donation and consider it a gift, a humanitarian act of giving. Transplantation is consistent with the life-preserving traditions of most faiths, and others consider donation a matter of personal choice. Visit Organdonor.gov.
If you have any questions, speak to your spiritual or religious advisor with specific questions.
My organs will be sold to the highest bidder.
FALSE. Buying and selling organs for the purpose of transplantation is illegal in the United States. Under the Uniform Anatomical Gift Act of 1984, human organs cannot be bought or sold, and violators are subject to fines and imprisonment. The strict regulation prevents any type of "black market" for organs in the United States. Medically speaking, illegal sales are not possible in the United States because recovered organs must be appropriately matched to recipients and distributed according to national policy established by the United Network of Organ Sharing (UNOS)
The recipient of my organs and/or tissues will know who I was.
FALSE. The identity of all parties is kept confidential during the donation process. The donor family and the transplant recipient may receive such information as age, sex and state of residence. Individually, the recipient may be told the circumstances of death, and the donor’s family may be informed of the transplants that were performed and receive feedback on how the health of the recipient(s) has improved.
The donation agencies facilitate all correspondence and meetings that may be initiated by either the donor family or recipient. Both parties must agree before any meetings are arranged.
Myths and Misconceptions