Becoming an Organ Donor is Easier Than You Think

November 12, 2012

Becoming an Organ Donor is Easier Than You Think

There are a lot of misconceptions about becoming an organ donor. Some of these misconceptions include that donors need to pay a fee; that you can be too old to donate your organs and that your family will receive money if they consent to having your organs taken out after you die. But perhaps the biggest myth is that becoming an organ donor is a long, complicated process. It’s not.

First Steps

When you get your driver’s license renewed, check to see if you can have printed on your license that you wish to donate your organs. This is an option in the UK, many Canadian provinces and states in America. But how about if you do not drive? In the UK, you can phone the National Health Services Organ Donor Register. In North America, you can opt for a state identification card that acts exactly like a driver’s license (except that you are not allowed to drive.)

The next step is to tell as many friends and family members as you can about your wishes. If you are a member of a synagogue or church, tell your faith leader. You should also tell your doctors. There is a persistent myth that you should never tell your doctor that you want to be an organ donor or the doctor may not try to save your life. Doctors can go to jail for doing this. Also, the doctors who remove your organs are different from your own doctors. There are also no documented cases of doctors purposefully letting patients die in order to harvest their organs.

Further Steps

In many areas of the world, this is all you need to do in order to become an organ donor. But if you want to make sure your wishes are carried out after you are dead, there are several things that you can do:

  • State your wishes in your will or living will
  • Tell the executor of your will of your wishes
  • Tell your lawyer, if you happen to have one
  • Wear a bracelet that clearly states “Organ Donor.”

As time goes by, you may develop a medical condition which would eliminate you from being an organ donor candidate. These illnesses include AIDS/HIV and some cancers.

Things to Keep In Mind

Some European countries like Belgium has passed laws of “assumed consent.” In these countries, most citizens want to donate their organs after they die, so they only need to do worry if they do not. In these countries, the family members have the final decision, so be sure to let your family know what your wishes are.

You will not be able to state who will be able to receive your organs. This is nearly impossible and questionable, ethically. If you donate your organs, they may go into saving the lives whoever needs them the most – even if that person is a criminal, drug addict or lawyer. If you only want your organs to go to the “right” kind of people, then do not become a donor.

Tags: ,

Category: Articles