When filling out the form for a new driver’s license, most of the process is pretty straightforward. But often times, there’s one box that gives people pause: the organ donor opt-in. We all know that the little heart on your driver’s license signifying organ donor can be a huge help to someone in need, but does opting into the program come with any risks? And most importantly, should you choose to be an organ donor?
First, let’s get a little background on organ donation and what makes it important. After someone dies, there’s a short window of time where certain organs and tissues can be taken from them, transported to a hospital, and used in a transplant surgery to another living human. Organs like the heart, liver, lungs, pancreas, small intestines, and kidneys can all be donated posthumously, and tissues like the corneas, skin, veins, heart valves, tendons, ligaments, and bones work as well. These donations and transplants save lives, but unfortunately, it can be remarkably difficult for someone on the transplant list to get one.
Almost 125,000 men, women, and children need a lifesaving organ transplant, and a new name gets added to the list every 10 minutes on average. Unfortunately, demand outweighs supply: wait times range from months to years, and roughly 21 people die every day because they don’t get an organ in time.
The wait is especially bad for kidney transplants. While it only takes 4 months to a year for patients waiting for lungs, hearts, or livers to find a donor, the wait for a kidney transplant usually takes 3 to 5 years. For many patients, that wait proves fatal.
Even so, many people feel skittish about signing up to be an organ donor. Some have religious concerns, some are concerned about the effect of the donation on their body, and some even worry that being an organ donor means doctors won’t work as hard to save your life.
But the truth is, being an organ donor comes with no downsides. Many religions see organ donation as a charitable, loving act of giving that saves another precious human life. The organ removal process is performed as a routine surgery that doesn’t disfigure the body, meaning you can still have an open-casket funeral. And the transplantation team is completely separate from the medical team working to save your life – any transplant evaluations won’t begin until doctors determine they’ve exhausted every possibility to save your life.
So should you be an organ donor? Obviously, you call the shots when it comes to your body, but we feel the answer is an overwhelming yes. With almost no cost to you, you can save the life of one, two, or even multiple people – people that would have died without your donation.
We hope you consider signing up to be an organ donor, and if you’re currently suffering from kidney problems or waiting for a donation, we can help. We provide high-quality home dialysis care, making the process simpler and easier for patients in need. To find out more about how we can make dialysis easier for you, feel free to call us at 610.892.4700 or reach out to us at our contact page.