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Organ donation is one of the most significant gifts you can give to another human being. Not only are organ donations life-saving, but they also help enhance the quality of life of the recipient. However, the process of being an organ donor isn’t straightforward. A lot goes into the process of organ donation, right from the registration of the donor to the transplant process.

Organ donations can usually be of two kinds – deceased and living. One might choose to donate any one or more of their organs after they die, which is referred to as a deceased donation.

There are many crucial steps involved in the process, which includes the following:

  1. Registration as a donor
  2. Brain death testing
  3. Organ procurement
  4. Authorizing donation
  5. Matching donor and recipient
  6. Transplanting the organ(s)

One can also choose a living donation where you can donate a kidney, a part of your liver, or a part of your lung to another person in emergency need.

Again, registration as a donor, health testing, organ matching, and getting all legal paperwork done are crucial steps here. To get a better understanding on organ donation, let’s dive into the details.

When you register as an organ donor, you can choose either deceased organ donation, living organ donation, or both.

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Who can be an organ donor?

Regardless of your age, gender, ethnicity, or race, anyone can become an organ donor, the elderly and babies included.

In cases where the prospective organ donor is less than eighteen years of age, parental consent is legally required to go ahead with any steps related to the procedure.

When you register as an organ donor, you can choose either deceased organ donation, living organ donation, or both.

  • Living organ donation: In the event that you choose living organ donation, you are usually allowed to donate a kidney, a part of your liver or lung, as well as other body tissues, including bone marrow, skin, and stem cells.
  • Deceased organ donation: If you choose deceased organ donation, you can choose to donate your heart, pancreas, lungs, kidneys, and more.

Overall, the organs that you can choose to donate other than the ones already mentioned above include the following:

  • Small intestines
  • Large intestines
  • Bones
  • Middle ear
  • Vascular composite allografts
  • Connective tissue

Organ donors can either be someone that the recipient knows personally or a stranger. Even then, the donor can choose to meet with the recipient or reveal their identity to them or not.

There are typically five kinds of organ donors:

  • First-degree relative (parents, siblings, children, spouse)
  • Other biological relatives (aunt, uncle, nephew, niece)
  • Biologically unrelated acquaintance (friend, co-worker)
  • A stranger who comes to know about your condition
  • A good Samaritan or undisclosed stranger donor

All organ donations are subject to health, vitality, and match tests, after which the transplant takes place. Often, it can get very difficult to find a match.

Plus, there are not many registered organ donors at any given point, so your choice to donate can potentially help save many lives. Do note that you can opt-out of the organ donation process whenever you wish to.

This also goes for parents. If they have a child that’s under the age of eighteen and have consented to a donation, they can withdraw that consent whenever they choose to.

Becoming an organ donor

A single organ donor who chooses to donate multiple organs can save up to fifty lives.

From cornea donations to connective tissue donations to heart and kidney donations. If a match is found, an organ donor can change and improve the lives of numerous people.

Most organ transplants need to be performed within twelve hours of the donor’s death. Plus, the organ needs to be harvested from the donor’s body within four hours of their death.

A donor’s body is treated with utmost respect and dignity throughout the process. This is true for not just living donations but deceased donations as well.

One of the biggest advantages for donors in this regard is that the entire process of organ donation won’t cost them anything at all. Choosing to donate your organs is free, so it won’t be an economic burden on you or your family.

When choosing to become an organ donor, it’s important to let your loved ones know. Organ donation can be a sensitive topic for families, but it’s a critical discussion, especially if you choose to do a deceased donation.

As mentioned before, organs need to be harvested from a deceased body within four hours of their death. When this time comes, the process of organ donation shouldn’t come as a shock to your family and friends.

Donate an organ and save a life

Choosing to donate your organs is one of the most selfless things you can do. You will be giving someone the precious gift of life and help them lead a healthy and fulfilling life.

Not only that, you’ll also be giving their friends and family a chance to spend more time with them.

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About the writer

Headshot of Natasha Cornelius, a life insurance writer, for Quotacy, Inc.

Greg Lewerer

Director of Creative Strategy

Greg is Quotacy’s Director of Creative Strategy. He has an eclectic past from working on movie scripts to creating ad campaigns for major brands. His love of creative solutions drove him to strategy, and he now uses his powers to help families protect their loved ones. Outside of work, Greg spends his time off the grid hunting, fishing, camping, biking, hiking, and walking his dogs.