Become a donor. Become a hero.
At this moment, more than 120,000 people in the United States alone are waiting for an organ. One more person is added to the national waiting list every 12 minutes.
Each of these people is in desperate need of a liver, heart, kidney, or other organ. More than 6,500 people a year — about 21 a day — die before that organ ever becomes available.
The majority of the organs that are available come from recently deceased donors. When you fill out an organ donor card with your driver’s license, you’re agreeing to donate all or some of your organs if you die.
A smaller number of organs come from healthy people. More than 6,000 transplants from living donors are performed each year.
You might have wondered about donating an organ — either to a friend or relative who needs an organ right now, or by filling out an organ donor card. Before you decide to become an organ donor, here is some important information you need to consider.
Who can donate?
- Just about anyone at any age.
How can I become an organ donor?
- To donate your organs after death, you can either register with your state’s donor registry (visit OrganDonor.gov), or fill out an organ donor card when you get or renew your driver’s license.
Will I be paid for donating an organ?
- No. It’s illegal to pay someone for an organ. The transplant program, recipient’s insurance, or recipient should cover your expenses from tests and hospital costs related to a living organ donation. The transplant program can go over what coverage is available for additional medical services. Some or all of your travel costs may also be covered.
Will organ donation after death mean I can’t have an open-casket funeral?
- No. The surgical incisions used for organ donation will all be closed.
Will my organ donation after death incur any costs to my family?
- No. The costs of the tests and surgery related to the donation will be covered by the recipient — most often by the recipient’s insurance.
Does signing a donor card have an impact on the quality of medical care I get at a hospital?
- No. When you are in a life-threatening situation, the medical team that is treating you is separate from the transplant team.
Should You Become an Organ Donor? Making the Decision
- As you decide whether to donate an organ as a living donor, weigh the benefits and risks very seriously.It’s important for you to get as much information as you can before making a decision. The transplant center should fully explain the organ donation process to you. You should also be assigned an independent donor advocate who will promote your medical rights.Make sure you ask a lot of questions throughout this process. It’s important for you to fully understand the surgery and how becoming an organ donor might affect your future health.
Finally, remember that this is your decision — yours alone. Don’t let anyone sway that decision. Even if a friend or loved one is very sick, you have to consider how donating an organ might affect your own life. Remember that even though the donation process has started, you have the right to stop it at any time if you change your mind.
Information Source: WebMD
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