February 14 is not just for Valentine’s Day, it is also National Donor Day. Did you know that there are over 120,000 patients on waiting list for organ and tissue donation? Organ donation and transplantation is a procedure in which organs or tissues from one individual (the donor) are placed into another person’s body (the recipient).
Here are a few questions and answers in honor of National Donor Day:
Why Become An Organ Donor?
The science of organ transplantation has made great strides in recent years. However, finding organs is still a challenge – there is a critical shortage of organs while the number of people waiting to receive them is rising. There are over 120,000 people on the national organ transplantation waiting list. One organ donor can save as many as 8 people.
How Do I Become A Donor?
There are several ways:
- State your intent to be an organ donor on your driver’s license.
- Register to be a donor at organdonor.gov.
- Tell your loved ones you want to be a donor so they know your wishes.
What Organs And Tissues Can Be Donated?
- Organs: heart, kidneys, pancreas, lungs, liver and intestines
- Tissues: corneas, skin, veins, bone, bone marrow, heart valves, middle ear, tendons and ligaments
- Blood and platelets
How Much Does It Cost To Donate Organs?
Nothing. All costs related to donation are paid by the organ recipients and their insurance.
Does Organ Donation Cause Disfigurement?
No. Organ donation does not dramatically change the appearance of the body, and the donation will not interfere with having an open casket funeral.
Who Manages The Distribution Of Organs?
The United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) maintains the national Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network. Through the UNOS, organ donors are matched to waiting recipients 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Patients are matched to organs based on a number of factors, including blood and tissue type, medical urgency, the recipient’s time on the waiting list and geographical location.
How Much Does A Transplant Cost?
The transplant process has many costs, including pre-transplant testing, procuring the donated organ, the transplant surgery, follow-up care and lifetime prescription drugs. These costs can total hundreds of thousands of dollars. Without a payment guarantee, someone in need of an organ cannot be placed on a waiting list.