This Wellness Wednesday feature continues our focus on organ donations, in recognition of Donate Life Month. Last week we addressed some of the many myths about organ donations that simply aren’t true. This week, with assistance from the US Department of Health & Human Services, and the OrganDonor.gov website, we’d like to share more information about the actual organ donation process.
For starters, there are 2 categories of organ donors — living donors and deceased donors. A majority of organ and tissue donations take place after the donor has passed away, but some, such as kidneys and partial livers and lungs, can come from living donors. Generally speaking, living donations make up about 40% of the total donations each year.
Most living donations take place between family members or friends, but it also isn’t uncommon for some people to choose to become living donors, because they are a match and believe in the importance of giving the gift of life, if possible. Living donors have the ability to donate a variety of organs, including a kidney or portions of their liver, lung, pancreas or intestines. Tissue donations are also commonplace, and can include skin grafts, bone, healthy cells and blood (cells & platelets).
For individuals thinking about becoming deceased donors, there are 2 important aspects to address. First is the deliberation. Being an organ donor isn’t a decision to be made lightly. Give it serious consideration … discuss the idea with family members, friends, and individuals you hold in high regard, such as your clergy or physician. Once you’ve decided to donate, be sure to tell your friends and family. Make sure they know you have registered to be a donor, so that your wishes are respected.
In terms of the actual registration itself, there are 2 ways to do so. You can sign up online or in-person. Registering at your nearest DMV takes just a few minutes. All you need is some identification information and your driver’s license or photo ID number. Or you can go to DonateLifeNC.org and register at the website. According to the OrganDonor.gov website, “Signing up does not guarantee you will be able to donate your organs, eyes, or tissues—and registering usually takes place many years before donation becomes possible. But it is the first step to being eligible to save lives.”