Organ donation is the gift of an organ to help someone who needs a transplant. But they depend entirely on the generosity of donors and their families who are willing to make this life-saving or life-enhancing gift to others.
The first successful kidney transplant was in 1954. The first heart transplant took place in 1967.
Every day three people die while waiting for an organ transplant and many others lose their lives before they even get on to the transplant list. There is a serious shortage of organs and the gap between the number of organs donated and the number of people waiting for a transplant is increasing.
Transplants are very successful and the number of people needing a transplant is expected to rise steeply due to an ageing population, an increase in kidney failure and scientific advances which mean that more people are now able to benefit from a transplant.
However, the number of organs available for transplant has remained static over the past five years. Only a very small number of people die in circumstances where they are able to donate their organs. Because organs have to be transplanted very soon after someone has died they can only be donated by someone who has died in hospital. Usually organs come from people who are certified dead while on a ventilator in a hospital intensive care unit, generally as a result of a brain haemorrhage, major accident like a car crash, or stroke.
Another major reason for the shortage of organs is that many people have not recorded their wishes about donation or discussed it with their families. While only a very few people die in circumstances which would enable their organs to be donated, many people can donate tissue after their death. Scientific and medical advances in the treatments that are available for patients has led to an increased need for donated tissue.
Kidneys, heart, liver, lungs and pancreas can all be transplanted.
Tissue donation is the gift of tissue such as corneas, skin, bone, tendons, cartilage and heart valves to help others.
Every year thousands of people with a severe eye disease or injury have their sight restored by donated corneas.
Bone, tendons and cartilage are used for reconstruction after an injury or during joint replacement surgery. A bone transplant can prevent limb amputation in patients suffering from bone cancer.
Heart valves are used to help children born with heart defects and adults with diseased or damaged valves. Skin grafts are used to treat people with severe burns.
Most people can donate tissue. Unlike organs, it may be possible to donate tissue up to 48 hours after a person has died.
Reproductive organs and tissue are not taken from deceased donors.
Organs are only removed for transplantation after a person has died. Death is confirmed by doctors at consultant level who are entirely independent of the transplant team. Death is confirmed in exactly the same way for people who donate organs as for those who do not.
Most organ donors are patients who die as a result of a brain haemorrhage, severe head injury, or stroke and who are on a ventilator in a hospital intensive care unit. In these circumstances, death is diagnosed by brain stem tests. There are very clear and strict standards and procedures for doing these tests and they are always performed by two experienced doctors.
The ventilator provides oxygen which keeps the heart beating and blood circulating after death. These donors are called heartbeating donors. Organs such as hearts, which deteriorate very quickly without an oxygen supply, are usually only donated by a heartbeating donor.
Patients who die in hospital but are not on a ventilator can, in some circumstances, donate their kidneys, and in certain circumstances, other organs. They are called non-heartbeating donors.
Both heartbeating and non-heartbeating donors can donate their corneas and other tissue.
No, not if brain stem death has been confirmed. In these cases a ventilator will keep the body supplied with oxygen and this means the heart will continue to beat and circulate blood. This preserves the organs so they can be donated for transplant. When the ventilator is turned off the heart will stop beating within a few minutes.
Yes. Health professionals have a duty of care to try and save life first. If, despite their efforts, the patient dies, organ and tissue donation can then be considered and a completely different team of donation and transplant specialists would be called in.
In an increasing number of hospitals, patients who die in the emergency unit can donate organs, eyes and tissue.
Organs and tissue are always removed with the greatest of care and respect. This takes place in a normal operating theatre under sterile conditions by specialist doctors. Afterwards the surgical incision is carefully closed and covered by a dressing in the normal way.
Tissue can be removed in an operating theatre, mortuary or funeral home. The operation is carried out by specialist healthcare professionals who always ensure that the donor is treated with the utmost respect and dignity.
Only those organs and tissue specified by the donor or their family will be removed.
Yes. Families are given the opportunity to spend time with their loved one after the operation if they wish and this is facilitated by the specialist nurse. Arrangements for viewing the body after donation are the same as after any death.
No. There is no question of any payment at all.
No. The donation operation is performed as soon as possible after death.
Yes. Blood is taken from all potential donors and tested to rule out transmissible diseases and viruses such as HIV and hepatitis. The family of the potential donor is made aware that this procedure is required.
Yes. In most circumstances. Having a medical condition does not necessarily prevent a person from becoming an organ or tissue donor. The decision about whether some or all organs or tissue are suitable for transplant is made by a healthcare professional, taking into account your medical history.
There is only one condition where organ donation is ruled out completely. A person cannot become an organ or tissue donor if they have, or are suspected of having, CJD. In very rare cases, the organs of donors with HIV or hep C have been used to help others with the same conditions. This is only ever carried out when both parties have the condition. All donors have rigorous checks to guard against infection.
No. None of the major religions in INDIA object to organ and tissue donation and transplantation. If you have any doubts, you should discuss them with your spiritual or religious adviser.
No. However, organs are matched by blood group and tissue type (for kidney transplants) and the best-matched transplants have the best outcome. Patients from the same ethnic group are more likely to be a close match. A few people with rare tissue types may only be able to receive a well-matched organ from someone of the same ethnic origin, so it is important that people from all ethnic backgrounds donate organs.
Successful transplants are carried out between people from different ethnic groups wherever the matching criteria are met.
In INDIA, organs and tissue from a potential donor will only be used if that is their wish. You can indicate your wishes in a number of ways such as telling a relative or close friend, by carrying an organ donor card.
Yes. You can specify which organs you would wish to donate. Simply tick the appropriate boxes on the donor card, and let those close to you know what you have decided.
Inform the healthcare professionals who are involved either with your relative's care or are helping you in the immediate period following their death (this could be a member of the hospital staff) that they wanted to donate. The earlier you are able totell staff, the more likely it is that donation can take place.
Yes. They need to know what you would like to happen after your death so they can confirm your wishes in case of your death. If you register your wishes without telling the people closest to you, it may come as a surprise at a time when they are trying to deal with their loss.
No. By the time your will is read it is likely to be far too late for you to become a donor. This is why it is so important to let your family and friends know that you have joined the Organ Donation Register.