Frequently Asked Questions About Organ Donation And Transplantation
Each year thousands of people die while waiting for a life-saving organ transplant in the US. This is something everyone can help with! By becoming an organ donor you can help save or improve dozens of lives! Read on for the answers to some frequently asked questions regarding organ and tissue donation!
If you still have questions, contact CORE with the link below!
This is probably one of the most common questions about organ donation! The organs that can be donated are heart, kidneys, pancreas, lungs, liver, and intestines. In addition to those main organs, you can also donate corneas, tissues (like heart valves, cartilage, and musculoskeletal tissue), as well as bone and skin. One person’s donation can save up to eight people through major organ transplants and improve the lives of dozens more with corneal and tissue transplants and grafts!
All donations are anonymous. The identities of both the donor and the recipient are kept confidential unless both parties express to the OPO that they would like to contact one another. In that case, the OPO will exchange contact information and the donor families and recipients can contact one another as desired.
Yes, donating will not interfere with an open casket funeral. All incisions are closed after organs are removed, bones are replaced with rods and skin grafts are very, very thin layers of the skin (like when you peel after a sunburn) that are taken from a donor’s back. No one will know by looking at you.
No. all costs for donors are covered by the recipient, either privately or through their medical insurance.
Patient survival rates after transplantation are around 80 to 90% depending on the organ transplanted and type of donor, about the same as a knee replacement or lasik eye surgery! This is a very high success rate, and it only keeps getting higher as technology and physicians improve and advance in transplant techniques and treatments!
Most transplant recipients go on to live full and productive lives with their friends and families, all thanks to the gift of donation!
Simply put, no. The only considerations that matter are how sick a candidate is, how long they’ve been waiting on the list and their blood type. Fame and fortune play no part in ranking candidates waiting for a transplant.
All major religions support organ donation as a selfless act of charity and love for your fellow man. Many religions encourage organ donation as one of the final acts of love and compassion that you can perform. For more info, visit this detailed chart from LiveOnNewYork’s website:
YES!! One of the most common misconceptions about organ donation is that the physicians and nurses will not try as hard to save your life in an emergency if it is known that you are an organ donor. This is absolutely false!
Organ donation is only ever considered AFTER death. The doctors who pronounce a patient are in no way a part of the transplant recovery teams. Their number one priority is YOU, organ donation isn’t ever a consideration during your treatment.
Everyone can be considered for organ donation after death, doctors and trained transplant specialists will make the determination at the time of death. Age doesn’t matter, there have been donors as old as 92 in the US! Persons under the age of 18 can donate if authorized by a parent or guardian, so make your wishes known!
Even persons with diseases like Hep C could donate to a person on the waiting list with the same disease. Cancer patients can often still donate corneas as well, there is a potential for anyone to become a donor!
Due to the high demand for organs, doctors have developed ways of taking some organs from living persons and transplanting them into waiting recipients.
The first successful living donor transplant was a kidney transplant between twins in 1954. Currently, about 6,000 living donations take place each year! The organs that can be transplanted from a living donor are kidney, liver, lungs, pancreas, and intestines.
Skin, bone, blood, bone marrow, stem cells, and umbilical cord blood can all also be donated by living donors!