The impact of organ donation | Health Focus SA
There are few ways to have a greater impact than through organ donation. According to the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network, a single donor can save up to eight lives and improve up to 75 others.
There is a huge need for organ donors. As of March 2022, more than 106,000 American men, women, and children were on the national transplant waiting list. Every nine minutes another person is added to the list.
In many cases, the wait can be incredibly long. This is because the need for viable organs to be transplanted far outweighs the number of willing, qualified donors. In Texas alone, more than 10,000 people are waiting for a transplant.
The organ donation process
Most transplants performed in the United States use organs from deceased donors. A person can either register for organ donation before death, or family members can agree to donate a loved one’s organs after death. You can also become a living donor.
When death is imminent, a medical team will place a potential donor on life support to keep organs functioning. During this time, clinicians will determine if the patient is brain dead, which means they no longer have any brain activity and can no longer breathe without intervention.
Once brain death has been declared, organ donation is possible. Organs that can be donated include kidneys, liver, lungs, heart, pancreas, intestines, hands and face. In some cases, corneas and body tissues are also donated.
An organ matching process helps determine if the person’s organs are in good condition and who will benefit. This is based on factors such as blood type, as well as time spent on the transplant waiting list and geographic location.
How to become an organ donor
If you want to register to become an organ donor, the registration process is relatively simple. You can submit your basic information to the Donate Life Texas registry, which will register you to donate your organs, eyes, and tissues after your death.
In 2021, more than 13 million Texans signed up for organ donation through Donate Life Texas — and more than 3,600 of them saved lives through organ donation after they died.
You can also register for organ donation when applying for a new or renewed driver’s license. Donate Life Texas, the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles are teaming up to make this possible. If you wish, you can also make a monetary contribution to Donate Life Texas at the same time.
Do you have other questions about organ donation or how to register? Check out these answers to frequently asked questions.