Over 100,000 people in the United States are waiting for an organ donation to save their lives. That's enough people to fill up a small city. Sadly, many of these people never get a second chance in life because they're not able to find a suitable donor. Most organs come from people who have died but about 45 percent come from living donors.
Donating your organs to another person can be a mind-boggling decision. After all, it's hard enough to think about what's going to happen after you die, let alone worry about things like organ and tissue donation. But for all it's worth, organ donation is one generous cause that can make a difference in people's lives. Understanding everything that you need to know about this will give you not only knowledge but also peace of mind.
What are required from a living organ donor?
To donate an organ while you're still alive, it's imperative that you're in top physical shape and be 18 to 60 years old. You should also be free from any chronic diseases like high blood pressure and diabetes as well as mental ailments like depression and schizophrenia.
Who can you give your organ to?
You can donate your organ to a person you know like your family member, friend, officemate or anyone you know who needs an organ transplant. It's also possible to donate someone in the national waiting list. You will need to undergo medical tests to find out if the organ is a good match with the person about to receive it.
What organs can you donate?
Living donors can donate a kidney, a lobe of a lung, a lobe of the liver (this will grow back to its normal as well as in the body of the recipient), a section of the intestine, and a part of the pancreas. Apart from these, the bone marrow, peripheral blood stem cells and umbilical cord blood can also be donated.
What is the process for organ donation?
First, you need to contact the United Network for Organ Sharing to obtain more information about organ donation. You can also visit your local transplant center. You will be informed primarily about the risks. Risks vary from one person to another and according to the organ donated. If you still want to do this, you will be asked to complete a medical evaluation.
Medical evaluation includes several tests such as the cross-match for transplant, antibody screen, blood type, tissue type, and mental health assessment. The cross-match for transplant is a blood test that indicates if the recipient's body will immediately reject the organ. This will show if the proteins in the blood of the recipient will attack the organ that you donated. If yes, then it means that the organ is not a good match for that particular person.
Antibody screen measures the antibodies in both of you and the recipient's systems, as these indicate a higher risk of rejection. Blood type is done to see if your blood type should be compatible with that of the recipient. Tissue type is another blood test that provides information about the cell's genetic makeup. Finally, the mental health assessment is a thorough study of the person's donor's health, as this will play an important role in the overall procedure.