Dying is pretty rough. Nobody really ever goes into it 100% happy, regardless of their stance on what happens after the final curtain call. Life Insurance can provide a small bit of comfort and security near the end of a person’s life, but there is a little more you can do to make a difference in your final moments. If you’re registered as an organ donor, you could squeeze in one more act of kindness, and help save the lives of total strangers who are in desperate need.

End-of-life organ donation is a pretty simple concept – if you aren’t using your organs anymore, why not give them to people who will? Many people suffering from organ failure, serious diseases, or genetic issues require new organs in order to drastically improve their quality of life, or even save it from a life-threatening condition. Since tomorrow is National Donor Day, we wanted to go over how organ donation works, and inform you on the ins and outs of handing out your insides.

How End of Life Organ Donation Works

The most common way that people sign up to become an organ donor is during a driver’s license renewal at the DMV. By checking that little box and getting the DONOR tag put onto your license, you’re adding your name to the national donor registry. You can also register to be a donor online at organdonor.gov. That’s all a donor needs to do on their end to make sure their wishes are carried out.

If you’re a healthy, eligible, and registered donor, the procedure will take place automatically if both A: you pass away in a way that keeps your organs from damage, and B: are in a place where a quick surgery is possible (like in a hospital, for example). The organs that can be used need to be preserved quickly to make sure that they’re healthy for their new recipient. The cost for the procedure is paid by the recipients of your organs – your family won’t have to pay anything for your donation.

Depending on where you are in the country, your body size, and your blood type, your organs will be matched with compatible recipients on the national organ wait list that are close enough to you for the organs to be transported and transplanted safely.

Life-Threatening Conditions That Donation Can Address

Heart Transplants

Coronary Heart Disease

Cardiomyopathy

Congenital/Valvular Heart Disease

Hypertensive Heart Disease

Lung Transplants

Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency

COPD

Cystic Fibrosis

Emphysema

Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis

Primary Pulmonary Hypertension

Kidney Transplants

Polycystic kidneys

Nephrosclerosis

Chronic pyelonephritis

Glomerulonephritis

Diabetes mellitus

Kidney stones

Renal cell carcinoma

Wilms’ tumor

Liver Transplants

Primary sclerosing cholangitis

Acute hepatic necrosis

Cirrhosis

Metabolic diseases

Portal hypertension

Hepatitis (viral, autoimmune and idiopathic)

Liver tumors

Biliary atresia

Intestinal Transplants

Short gut syndrome

Other malabsorptive bowel problems

Other Ways Organ Donation Can Help

In addition to saving lives, some donations can improve the lives of their recipients through the gift of new eyes for the blind, skin grafts for severe burn victims, and even bone and muscle in some specific cases to help reconstruct limbs lost in accidents. One donor’s organs alone can save up to eight lives, but a gift of other tissues can dramatically improve the lives of upwards of 30 people per donor.

There are many different benefits that your organs can have to others in need, and just one donor can offer life to several people suffering from painful and deadly afflictions. OrganDonor.Gov has collected several organ donation success stories from the families of donors and recipients across the country, and offers a great glimpse of the profound impact that a gift of life can have on a person’s future.

In honor of national donor day, thank you to all registered donors. If you’re not on the list, give it some thought. One quick choice could mean the world to someone else.

 

Photo Credit to Angela

 

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