There are many reasons why you should sign up for organ donation, one being the number of organs you are able to donate. The number of organs someone is able to donate allows them to be able to save the lives of 8 other people – and impact even more through tissue donation!
There is a high demand for kidney donations with 82% of patients on the organ donor waiting list in need of a kidney. There are many reasons why kidneys can fail, causing a transplant to be needed. Some of the most common reasons are diabetes, polycystic kidney disease, hypertension and inflammation which leads to scarring.
The kidney is a special organ, although people have two of them, only having one is just as efficient. This allows kidneys to be donated by a living person which is commonly referred to as a living donation.
On average, it takes between three and five years to receive a kidney from a deceased donor which makes living donations ever more important. After someone donates their kidney, the remaining kidney is able to enlarge and complete the work previously done by the two kidneys.
There are a few requirements living donors must meet before a living donation can take place. Although different transplant centers have different regulations regarding who can donate, all donors must undergo a full medical exam, be 18 years old, and be in good mental and physical health. The donor must also have a compatible kidney which most commonly come from family members although many successful transplants also come from those who are unrelated. Living donations come with other benefits including longer functionality and overall higher quality of life as they can last for nearly twice as long, between 12 to 20 years, as a deceased donor kidney.
Remember, there are many more organs you can donate besides kidneys! Becoming an organ donor is as easy as checking a box when you register or renew your driver’s license. If you don’t want to wait, you can also go to ORGANDONOR.GOV to register which only takes about 5 minutes!
-Davis Hoover, Alexander’s Hope Intern