November 15, 2023

What You Need to Know About Organ Donations

Deciding to become an organ donor is a chance to help others even beyond death. At the end of your life, you’re helping extend someone else’s by giving them what they desperately need.

Over 100,000 people are waiting for an organ, but many will die before they get the call. There’s always a scarcity of organ donors, so choosing to be one is a praiseworthy act. If you’re considering it, here are some facts you need to know beforehand:

Organ Donation Eligibility

Anyone can become an organ donor, regardless of race, medical history, or age. However, those below 18 need the consent of a parent or guardian.

If you have health conditions, you need to disclose them to your transplant team at the start. That way, they can assess whether you’re a suitable candidate. Those with severe diseases like HIV, cancer, or diabetes may not be eligible as living donors.

If you’re donating after death, professionals will perform a medical assessment to identify which organs are suitable for donation. Again, certain health conditions may affect your eligibility.

Health Issues After Organ Donation

It’s normal to worry about how organ donation will impact your health in the future. But it’s possible to donate without experiencing long-term health issues. If you donate a portion of your kidney, lung, liver, intestines, or pancreas, your body will make up for the missing part and function normally.

Some data shows that kidney donation can increase someone’s likelihood of developing chronic kidney disease, high blood pressure, and preeclampsia. However, the studies on these issues are still limited and non-conclusive. If health professionals determine organ donation will put your health at risk, you can’t continue the procedure.

You should also note that organ donation is a major surgery. There will always be risks of bleeding, blood clots, infections, and allergic reactions. In addition, recovery will take time and might be painful.

Medical Care for Organ Donors

Some organ donors worry they might not get the same quality of medical care after signing a donor card, but that will never be the case. If your life is on the line, doctors will do everything to save you before considering organ donation. It’s also helpful to know that different teams will likely be assigned to the tasks of providing medical care and harvesting organs for donation.

Another scary thought for organ donors is they might not be dead when the physician signs their death certificate. But doctors perform more tests on organ donors versus those who aren’t to ensure they have passed. The organ donor’s family doesn’t have to pay additional fees for these tests.

Financial Costs for Organ Donors’ Families

Organ donors don’t have to worry about financially burdening their families. The recipient pays for the tests and surgeries required for the donation, usually via their insurance. The only expenses the donor’s family must shoulder are for the medical care required by the donor and the funeral.

Funerals for Organ Donors

The common misconception is that organ donors can’t have open-casket funerals. But that’s not true. Trained medical professionals perform the surgical operation to recover tissues and organs, treating donors’ bodies with care and respect. There’s no disfigurement in the process, allowing families to hold traditional funerals for those who have passed.

Honor your loved one’s life and their courageous decision to be an organ donor with a beautiful funeral and a peaceful resting place. For more information, contact Wyuka Cemetery at (402)-474-3600.


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