Organ donation: What you need to know

As Coronation Street tackles organ donation, we found out everything you need to know.

Organ donation – it’s not something we think about on a day-to-day basis but do you really know what happens?

Organ donation is such a critical issue, that we need to grab any chance, any date, any time we can raise it.

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As Coronation Street tackles the subject of organ donation, with a storyline involving Carla Connor, we found out everything you need to know. 

It saves lives

"Organ donation saves lives, it’s as simple as that,” says Sally Johnson, director for Organ Donation and Transplantation at NHS Blood and Transplant.

“There are currently around 10,000 people in need of a transplant and around over 6,000 people on the transplant waiting list.

“Sadly, three people die every day in need of a transplant because there are not enough organs available. More donors are needed to save lives.”

The trouble though, is that few people know how to be a donor, why they should be a donor, and what a donor really is.

Thankfully, the NHS and the transplant charity Live Life, Give Life are here to clear those questions up.

 

I’m very aware some of my fans had noticed I was laying low for part of the summer and questioning why I wasn’t promoting my new music, which I was extremely proud of. So I found out I needed to get a kidney transplant due to my Lupus and was recovering. It was what I needed to do for my overall health. I honestly look forward to sharing with you, soon my journey through these past several months as I have always wanted to do with you. Until then I want to publicly thank my family and incredible team of doctors for everything they have done for me prior to and post-surgery. And finally, there aren’t words to describe how I can possibly thank my beautiful friend Francia Raisa. She gave me the ultimate gift and sacrifice by donating her kidney to me. I am incredibly blessed. I love you so much sis. Lupus continues to be very misunderstood but progress is being made. For more information regarding Lupus please go to the Lupus Research Alliance website: www.lupusresearch.org/ -by grace through faith

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How can you sign up to be a donor?

People can join the organ donor register by registering their details online at www.organdonation.nhs.uk or by calling 0300 123 23 23. You will be given a card, which you do not have to carry with you. If you decide to change your mind about being a donor, you can.

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Can anyone be a donor?

Anyone can join the organ donor register and there is no upper age limit for joining the register and recording your wish to be a donor.

In the case of cornea donation there is currently an upper age limit of 80 and there is also an age limit of 60 for the donation of heart valves and tendons. For other tissue donation, such as bone and skin, there is no age limit.

 

Can I choose which body parts are used?

Yes, you can which organs you would wish to donate by ticking boxes on the registration form.

How long is the waiting list for donors?

As of September 28 2015, the NHS says there are 6,908 people on the active transplant waiting list.

How many organ donors are there? How many transplants actually take place?

Live Life, Give Life says that in the UK, between April 1 2013 and March 31 2014:

• 4,655 organ transplants were carried out, thanks to 2,466 donors.
• 1,328 lives were saved in the UK through a heart, lung, liver or combined heart/lungs, liver/kidney or heart/kidney transplant.
• 3,301 patients' lives were dramatically improved by a kidney or pancreas transplant, 188 of whom received a combined kidney/pancreas transplant.
• Over 1,050,000 more people pledged to help others after their death by registering their wishes on the NHS Organ Donor Register.

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What exactly is tissue donation?

Tissue donation is the gift of tissue such as corneas, skin, bone, tendons, cartilage and heart valves to help others. Most people can donate tissue. Unlike organs, it may be possible to donate tissue up to 48 hours after a person has died.

Should I tell my family if I become a donor?

"When you register on the NHS Organ Donor Register, it is important that you tell those closest to you about your decision,” explains Johnson.

“Even if your name is on the register, the person closest to you in life will be asked about donation if you die in circumstances where you would be able to donate your organs.

If they know you wanted to be a donor, it will be much easier for them to support your wish to donate at a difficult time. Don’t leave it to chance. Spell it out clearly so they don’t have that burden of making a sudden decision should the worst happen. Many of us join the register when we are young and it is only many years later that we are able to donate.

“Just 45% of families agree to organ donation going ahead if they are unaware of their loved one’s decision to be a donor but this figure rises to 95% when they know the decision."

If you believe in organ donation, prove it. Register now at www.organdonation.nhs.uk