Becoming an organ donor is much more than just an indication on your driver’s license. Organ donors are extremely important in our society as they give individuals in need the chance at a new life. According to Seattle Children’s Hospital, just one organ donor can save or improve the lives of more than eight people in need. From vital organs such as the heart and lungs to restorative surgeries that can help bring back a patients eyesight. Organ donation can save and improve the lives of children and adults of various ages, and the need is only increasing.
According to the U.S Department of Health & Human Services, more than 114,000 men, women, and children are registered on the national transplant waiting list. These patients are waiting for vital organs that can help save their lives. Though that staggering statistic is only increasing as time goes on, the number of registered donors is struggling to keep up. While many U.S adults support the concept of organ donation, it is estimated that only 54% are actually registered as organ donors. The shortage of donors is increasing with a new patient waiting for transplant being added to the list every ten minutes.
So, how can you go about registering, and what does being an organ donor consist of? Regardless of your race, nationality, or medical history, you can usually register as an organ donor. To register you must be 18 years or older; however, in some states, donors under 18 can be acceptable with the authorization of a parent or guardian. Deciding to become a donor is a big decision; however, once you have made the choice, going about it is an easy process. You can register online or with your local DMV; once you have registered, it’s best to let your family know your wishes in the event something happens. If you decide to become a donor, you can donate up to eight vital organs including lungs, kidneys, liver, heart, pancreas, and intestines. Important tissues can also be donated. These tissues can consist of eyes and corneas, skin grafts, tendons, and bones. All of these organs and tissues can play a vital role in improving or saving someone’s life.
As a registered donor, you have the ability to choose which organs you want to donate and can alter your choice whenever you would like. This gives you the ability to be comfortable with your choices and know how things will be handled moving forward.