More than 120,000 patients in the United States are waiting for a live-saving transplant, and for most of them, the wait can be in years. This is precisely why living donors are so important. Most organ/tissues transplants occur after the death of donor. More than 5,000 living donations occur every year. If you want to become a living donor, here’s what you need to know.
Which organs can be donated?
For obvious reasons, only selected organs can be donated. Some of the potential options include one of two kidneys, one of two lobes of liver, one lung, part of intestines and pancreas. One kidney in the donor’s body is enough for survival, while in case of liver donation, the cells regenerate, and the liver almost becomes as the original. Tissues also can be donated by living donors, primarily skin, bone, and cells from bone marrow.
Who can choose to donate?
After agreeing to become a living donor, the person will be evaluated on various grounds, to determine if they are healthy enough to donate. Doctors will take extreme precautions for the donor, ensuring that the person can live a fully-normal life after the surgery. All living donors are expected to be fit, and typically, patient’s age shouldn’t exceed 60. They should not have chronic diseases, including diabetes and high blood pressure. Any kind of surgery does have risks, so doctors will explain all details to the donor.
What else one must know?
Keep in mind that organ donation is a major surgery, and therefore, it may take a while for the donor to recover and get back to their normal life. This may mean loss of work for some people, and there is always some risk that the donor will have to deal with certain health conditions after the surgery. Most living donations happen between donor and patient who know each other, but there are people who have become a living donor for someone they don’t know. However, it is all about taking a serious decision, and considering all health risks.
If you want to help a friend or a family member by donating an organ when in need, consider all relevant aspects. Doctors may also recommend counseling, so that you fully understand the overall impact of the decision. In any case, you can choose to become an organ donor and save lives after your death. Sign up with your state registry.