For many of us, the question of needing or donating an organ isn’t really something we’ve thought about. A recent survey, though, showed that the majority of people living in Northern Ireland would accept an organ if they needed one.
Yet, it might surprise you to know that only 40% of us have signed the NHS Organ Donor Register. There’s a real shortage of organs and every year around 14 people in Northern Ireland die waiting for an organ transplant.
Most of us are familiar with the need for kidney transplants, but transplants are regularly carried out on the heart, liver, lungs, pancreas and small bowel. Also, tissue such as corneas and heart valves can be donated and transplanted.
The clearest way to indicate you want to be a donor is to sign the Organ Donor Register. If you don’t sign the register, it will not necessarily prevent you from becoming a donor, but it could mean your wish will not be fulfilled. In the event of someone’s death, families give final consent for organ donation to take place, so whether you’ve signed the register or not, it’s very important to talk to your loved ones about what you want.
Organ donation raises lots of questions and myths, some of which can seem very daunting. Visit the FAQs for the answers to any questions you might have.
Add your name to the NHS Organ Donor Register.