Organ donation is a highly admirable and responsible thing to do, and is one of the most genuine ways to do something heroic and to potentially save someone’s life. At the same time though it is a serious decision and one that can have big implications. Understandably some people will be concerned that the cons can outweigh the pros – it is a highly personal decision and one that only you can make. It is a noble step, but not for everyone, and a lot of it will come down to your personal beliefs.
However while this noble step is something only you can decide on, being fully informed can nevertheless help you to make your decision. Here we will look at the pros and cons of organ donation to help you decide whether it is right for you. We’ll also look at some facts regarding organ donation and some statistics.
Facts About Organ Donation
• You can donate organs at almost any age – anywhere between a newborn to a 65 year old can sign up.
• The donor family does not bear the cost of the surgery, despite some beliefs to the contrary.
• Around 90,000 people are waiting for organ donations every month, and roughly 20 people a month die who could otherwise have been saved by available organs.
• Kidneys, lungs, heart, skin, pancreas liver, eyes and intestines can all be donated.
• Around 95% of eye donations enable the receiver to see again.
Cons of Organ Donation
Reasons against organ donation vary a lot depending on the individual. For some there are religious reasons against organ donation, while for others their family beliefs may contradict an intention to be a donor. In some religions for instance it may be believed that organ donation could affect you in the after life. Likewise if you had any hopes of coming back one way or another – and intended to freeze yourself ala Walt Disney – then organ donation might stand in the way of that. Others might have a particular desire to be cremated.
However many of the perceived ‘cons’ of organ donation are not in fact cons at all, but rather are based on misconceptions. For instance many individuals incorrectly believe that if they donate organs that they or their family will then need to fund the cost of the operation used to remove the organ. This is a fallacy, and in fact all costs will fall to the recipient.
At the same time many people avoid becoming organ donors as they are afraid it will affect their own medical treatment – i.e. they believe that doctors and surgeons might not try to the best of their ability to save them when they find out they are donors. However this again is a fallacy as the surgeons involved in donations are completely different from those who are going to be saving you. To them no one life is more important than another and they are of course going to focus on saving the person in front of them.
Pros of Organ Donation
On the other hand there are countless highly important reasons that you should donate organs. First of all, by donating organs you will be able to save lives and that will make you a true hero to that person and their family. If you have ever known someone who has received an organ, then you will know just what an incredible gift this is. If you can save someone from dying, then of course most of us would see this as a highly positive thing. At the same time though, by being an organ donor can actually help you to save more than one life – rather it can help you to save several and a single donor may touch the lives of up to 50 people. This can also have more repercussions as you lead by example and convince more people to do the same.
From a selfish point of view this is of course something that can make you feel highly good and proud about yourself, and knowing you have the donor box ticked on your drivers’ license is a great source of pride for many. And for those who really want to live on in a physical sense – then actually donating organs is a way you can do this and in a sense then a part of you will never die. Your organs will live on and go on to help someone else, and at the same time your memory will of course live on for the grateful people who receive your organs.