Organs or tissues from one person (the donor) are put into another person's body (the recipient). People of all ages and backgrounds should consider themselves likely donors.
The number of people needing a transplant continues to rise faster than the number of donors. About 3,700 transplant candidates are added to the national waiting list each month. Each day, about 77 people receive organ transplants. However, 18 people die each day waiting for transplants that can't take place because of the shortage of donated organs.
There are now more than 92,000 people on the waiting list. Experts suggest that each of us could save or help as many as 50 people by being an organ and tissue donor.
There are no age limits on who can donate. Newborns as well as senior citizens have been organ donors. If you are under age 18, you must have a parent's or guardian's consent. If you are 18 years or older, you can show you want to be an organ and tissue donor by signing a donor card. Carry the card in your wallet. In some states, you can state your intent to be an organ donor on your driver's license. Even if you sign a donor card and/or state your intent on your driver’s license, make sure your family knows your wishes. Your family may be asked to sign a consent form in order for your donation to occur. You may also want to tell your family health care provider, lawyer, and your religious leader that you would like to be a donor.
No. The donor's family neither pays for, nor receives payment for organ and tissue donation. The transplant recipient's health insurance policy, Medicare, or Medicaid usually covers the cost of transplant.
No. Many people think that if they agree to donate their organs, the doctor or the emergency room staff won't work as hard to save their life. This is not true.
The transplant team is completely separate from the medical staff working to save your life. The transplant team does not become involved with you until doctors have determined that all possible efforts to save your life have failed.
No. Donation does not change the appearance of the body. Organs are removed surgically in a routine operation. It does not interfere with having a funeral, including open casket services.
No. Total body donation is an option, but not if you choose to be an organ or tissue donor. If you wish to donate your entire body, you should contact the facility of your choice to make arrangements. Medical schools, research facilities, and other agencies need to study bodies to gain greater understanding of diseases in humans. This research is vital to saving and improving lives.
Non-resident aliens can both donate and receive organs in the United States.
The need for transplants is high among minorities, particularly African Americans.
The United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) maintains the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN). Through the UNOS Organ Center, organ donors are matched to waiting recipients 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
The organ is offered first to the candidate who is the best match. The organ is distributed locally first, and if no match is found, it is offered regionally and then nationally until a recipient is found.
*cited from: www.ninds.nih.gov