Did you know that in India every year 500,000 people die in need of organ transplants? Majority of these patients are young and their only hope for life is an organ donor. Organ donation allows many recipients to return to their normal lives post a transplant surgery. For some recipients it can be the ability to see again or to regain mobility or freedom from pain. Vital organs such as heart, pancreas, liver and kidneys can be donated in case of a brain death. Other tissues such as corneas, heart valves, skin and bones, tendons and heart valves also can be donated.
Despite continuing efforts for public awareness, misconceptions about organ donation still persist. If you are considering on becoming a donor, do not let myths stop you. Here are some facts you need to know:
- You can be a donor at any age or with any medical history. Your medical condition at the time of death matters. That is when doctors decide on which organ or tissue can be donated.
- The primary responsibility of a physician is to save your life during instances of sickness or injury. Your doctor will never take into consideration whether or not you are a registered donor. Organ donation can only be considered post brain death declaration by the physician.
- Your family does not bear any cost for organ donation.
What can you do to be an organ donor?
Organ registries – To be an organ donor, it is important for you to first register by signing up in organ donor registries. Facilities for online organ donation have also been set up recently. A registry helps in understanding who and where the potential donors are located. It also aids in getting public support and commitment towards organ donation.
You can also register at any one of the following non-Government organizations spread across the country:
- Mohan Foundation
- Gift Your Organ Foundation
- Gift A Life
The Indian Society of Organ Transplantation initiated the Transplant Registry in India in 2005. The Cadaver Transplant Programme was initiated by the Government of Tamil Nadu in 2009 followed by the Department of Health, Government of Kerala in 2012 and Department of Medical, Health and Family Welfare, Government of Rajasthan in 2014. The Government of India is planning to roll out another comprehensive national organ registry by the end of this year.
Organ donor cards – One can donate organs after death using organ donor cards. The Mohan Foundation is one of the few NGOs who facilitate donor card distributions in response to an organ donation pledge. It has distributed millions of donor cards in the last few years across India.
When you have the power, give the gift of life!