Some organ donation facts are that a person is added to the national organ transplant waiting list every 12 minutes and that more than 6,500 people die each year before receiving a transplant. Organ donation is necessary when a person experiences organ failure due to disease or injury.
Organ donation involves surgically removing an organ from one person and transplanting it into another. The person providing the organ is called the organ donor, and the person receiving the transplant is the recipient; examples of organs that can be donated include the liver, the heart, the pancreas and the intestine.
Most organ donations are from deceased donors. However, more than 6,000 organ transplants each year come from living donors. Living donors do not receive payment for donating organs. Organ donation is easier if the living donor and organ recipient have similar blood types and tissue matches, but this is not always mandatory.
Almost anyone can donate an organ. A person younger than 18 years old needs to have consent from a parent to be a donor. After death, a medical professional determines which organs can be donated. There are certain medical conditions that prohibit a person from becoming an organ donor such as cancer, HIV, kidney disease, heart disease and diabetes.
Being an organ donor does not impact the quality of care a person receives at a medical facility. It does not cost anything to become an organ donor. The organ recipient pays for all medical expenses related to the organ transplant.
To become an organ donor, a person registers with his state donor's registry. He can also fill out an organ donor card when receiving or renewing his driver's license.