According to Donate Life America, nearly 120,000 people in the United States are currently waiting for an organ transplant. In other words, the largest football stadium in the US couldn’t fit all the patients on the national transplant waiting list. Unfortunately, more than 20 patients will die each day because of a lack of lifesaving organ donations.
While these statistics are distressing, each and everyone one of us has the power to make a difference and become an organ, eye and tissue donor. April is National Donate Life Month. The celebratory month was instituted to encourage all Americans to register as organ and tissue donors.
Why You Should Register to Become an Organ Donor
Whether you’ve been putting off registering to become a donor or have never thought of it, there are some very good reasons why you should take the time to register today.
You can save lives
One organ donor can provide the gift of life to up to 8 individuals. For organ donor recipients, a transplant can mean a second chance at life.
There is a shortage of organs
Every 13 minutes someone new is added to the national transplant waiting list.
It’s easy to register
There are two ways to register. You can register to become a donor by checking off the donor box on your driver’s license application or renewal form. You can also fill out a donor registry enrollment form through Donate Life America. Make sure to encourage friends and family to register, too.
What about Living Organ Donations?
Some organs and tissues can be donated while a donor is alive. Living donors can potentially donate a kidney, one lobe of their liver, a lung or part of a lung, part of their pancreas or part of the intestines. Nearly 6,000 living donations take place each year. Most living donations come from family members, spouses or close friends. However, some individuals choose to become altruistic donors by donating an organ or tissue anonymously.
To be a living donor, you do need to be in good health and well-informed about the procedure. Living donors must be over 18 and typically under the age of 70. To qualify to become a living donor, you will undergo a complete medical examination to ensure you are healthy enough for the surgery and that you don’t have any major health issues, such as high blood pressure, cancer, kidney disease or heart disease.
Do We Have to Be a Perfect Match?
Although, the outcome is improved when the donor and recipient are perfectly matched, it is no longer essential. However, several tests are necessary to determine if a donor’s organ or tissue will be compatible with the recipient. This includes cross-match testing to identify any immunological reaction that could result in a rejection of the transplant.
“With the average wait time for donors five years or longer to receive a kidney, registering to be a donor or deciding to become a living donor is a goodwill gesture that can save a life,” says Dr. Ernesto Molmenti, Surgical Directory, NSUH Transplant Center.
Want to learn more about organ and tissue donation? Call the Katz Institute for Women’s Health Resource Center at 855-850-5494 and speak to a health specialist. At Katz Institute for Women’s Health, we’re here to answer your questions.