I haven't had any personal experience of family members needing organ transplants and not being able to find a donor. Nor have I ever needed an organ transplant and had to wait for a donor myself. So why would I become an organ donor? I chose to become an organ donor because it's the right thing to do.
If I were in the situation where one of my family members or even I needed an organ transplant, and I couldn't have one because they couldn't find a suitable organ donor, I would be upset and I'm sure so would you. Obviously, I understand that not everyone can be an organ donor, some religions and faiths may not like it, and some people might have their own personal objections against becoming an organ donor, that's completely fine. But what about the rest of the population?
The NHS is incredibly low on organ donors. 249 people are currently waiting for a heart transplant (correct Febuary 2017) Most of the population have no objections to becoming an organ donor, they have either just have never thought of it or haven't found the time to sign up. If all these people just took, 2 minutes out of their day to sign up, thousands of life's could be saved every year, as there would be enough organs. Today I'm going to talk about how you can become an organ donor and answer some frequently asked questions and concerns people have about becoming an organ donor. With the aim of hopefully encouraging at least one person reading this to become an organ donor.
You've probably spent over an hour if not more on your phone today scrolling through Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. If you have the time to spare to do this, you have the time to sign up to become an organ donor. You can do it from your phone. You can do it on your morning commute. You can do it in your lunch hour. You can do it while watching TV tonight, instead of tweeting. You can do it today.
What's putting you off? You might not have enough information or maybe have doubts in your mind fuelled by myths? Or maybe you didn't know you could! That is why I'm here today to clear up some Common myths and answer frequently asked questions. I hope this helps as many of you out as possible.
So I have to be over 18?
No not at all! There is no minimum age limit to becoming an organ donor. So if you're 11 and really want to sign up- go for it! The only requirements are that you are legally allowed to make the decision and are a resident in the U.K. However If you do change your mind you can withdraw at any time.
What's the difference between an organ and a tissue donation?
When you donate an organ, you are replacing a damaged one, and by donating tissue, you could help prevent a life-threatening condition. There are two types of donations; alive and deceased. You are obviously limited to what you can donate while you are still alive.
What if I have a pre-existing medical condition?
That doesn't necessarily stop you becoming an organ donor or donating at least some of your organs. However, if you have HIV, CJD or cancer that has spread in the last 12 months, it's worth checking this before you sign up. If you are unsure, there's further information on the NHS donor website
What can I donate?
You can donate your heart, liver, lungs, kidneys, pancreas, small bowel, corneas and tissue. However, you don't have to donate everything. You can donate one, some or all. And if you change your mind any point you can go back and alter your preferences.
How do I donate?
Officially you can tick the organs you want to donate on the official NHS organ donor register. You can also let your friends and family know your decision. You don't have to tell your family. However, it is recommended, so it doesn't come as a shock to them when you die.
What about religion?
All major religions accept the idea of organ donations. There is more specific information on this though on the NHS donor website. You may have personal objections which are entirely understandable. No one can force you to become an organ donor.
Lots of people have concerns that because they have registered to be an organ donor, the doctors won't work as hard to save your life. This is definitely not true. Your life is as precious as anyone else's, and doctors will do whatever it takes to save it regardless if you are an organ donor or not.
Some are also worried that the doctors will start cutting organs out of you as soon as you a pronounced dead. This is of course not the case. Extra checks will be carried out to make sure you are dead before any of your organs are taken. Don't worry you will be in safe hands.
Some worry that having an organ removed will disfigure your body. The doctors will do the best they can to remove any organ with great levels of care and precision. The family are able to view the body after donation just like they can after death. As they treat you will dignity and respect and cover up any surgery to remove the organs you can if you wish to have an open casket funeral, as you will be clothed.
If you are not sure if you want to donate your organs at a young age that's okay. There's no age restriction to being an organ donor. When you die, the doctors will decide on the suitability of your organs when you die. I personally recommend doing it young though as you never know how many years left you have on this planet.
You also do not need to worry about people buying or selling Organs or tissue. The laws in the U.K. Makes selling or buying human organs illegal, so your precious body parts are very safe.
If you are the sort of person who likes helping others, maybe you give a lot to charity or do volunteering. You should see organ donor as like one last donation to make the world a better place for someone who needs it. Of course, you won't know who your organ has gone to. Which is what I think puts a lot of people off. They worry their liver will go to an alcoholic who damaged their own liver on their own accord and will proceed to destroy yours.
But what about if this was the wake-up call they needed to change their life around or perhaps your kidney went to a little girl or boy, dying of cancer. Think of the glisten in their eyes and the smile on their face when they get the call to find out they have a donor match. Think of how overjoyed the parents will be knowing their child is getting a second chance at life.
I, of course, am not going to bully you into this decision. It's your body, it's your choice. However, I just wanted to write this post as a bit of food for thought. Most people never consider becoming an organ donor, but honestly, I think it's one of the most beautiful things you can do and is the main reason I chose to become an organ donor.
Giving life and hope to another human is incredibly special indeed.
I would love to know if any of you sign up to becoming an organ donor after reading this. Please let me know in the comments below or tweet me!
Thanks for reading, as always X
You can find more information on the NHS Organ Donor website HERE