Do I Want to Be a Living Donor?
How would you feel about being able to save lives via organ donation while you are alive? Many people hold a perception that organ donation happens only after death. In fact, many transplants are possible because of living donors. Individuals pledge to donate organs while they are alive and potentially even donate while still alive. Thus the term: living donor.
Altogether, a human can potentially donate eight organs, including a heart, both lungs, a liver, a pancreas, two kidneys, and an intestine. While alive, a person can donate one of two kidneys, one of two liver lobes, a lung (or part of one), part of a pancreas, or part of an intestine. The decision to be a living donor has the potential to save many lives at once.
The benefits are enormous and numerous, but there are several factors that you should consider before deciding to donate. Any surgery brings with it potential complications, delay in recovery time, and potential difficulty with insurance coverage because of donating healthy organs. Potential stress to the remaining organs is an area of research at present. As more is known, more will be published.
As mentioned, there is some recovery time involved, meaning that a donor may be out of work or unable to resume their normal flow of life immediately. Taking lifestyle into account before donation is important. Support is available through the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) regarding the decision process and follow-up after donation.
With all of that said, being able to save multiple lives is an invaluable gift from one human to another. Life brings with it unpredictable circumstances, and we all have the ability to influence each other’s lives. We hope that you will seriously consider volunteering to be a living donor and to continue to donate organs after you no longer need them. Change a life today.