Every year, thousands of people die waiting for an organ transplant. In the United States, there are nearly 100,000 people on the transplant waiting list. This is no small problem, but we can all be a part of the solution by becoming organ donors.

The organs and tissues of one deceased person can save up to eight lives, and can improve the health of as many as fifty people. People of any age may become donors, and most religions support organ and tissue donation. Here are some more facts that might help you make a decision:

* The fact that you are an organ donor will not affect the quality of your medical care. By law, the doctors treating you cannot be the same doctors who are involved with organ donation. Every effort will be made to save your life.

* Donating organs and tissues will not cost you or your loved ones a dime. All costs are covered by the recipient and his insurance company.

* You will be able to have any kind of funeral you or your family desires. Organs are carefully removed by qualified surgeons, and all incisions are closed once removal is complete. Donation of organs will not result in disfigurement of the body, so it will not affect the prospects of having an open casket.

* You can specify which organs you wish to donate. You may give all of your procurable organs and tissues, one specific organ, or anything in between.

Becoming a Donor Is Easy

Due to the urgent need for organs, most countries and states have strived to make organ donation as easy as possible. Some countries, including Spain and France, presume consent for organ donation from the deceased, but allow the family to decide if the individual has not explicitly consented. Other countries, including the United Kingdom and the United States, require consent from the individual. In the U.S., laws vary somewhat from state to state.

If you want to make sure your organs are donated, you’ll need to make your wishes known. This is best accomplished by registering in the manner prescribed by your place of residency. You can often have your choice indicated on your driver’s license, and it is also a good idea to include it in your will or living will. It is very important to notify your family of your decision so that they will not try to prevent donation of your organs.

By being an organ donor, you can give others a chance at life that they might not have otherwise had. Registering as a donor is easy, and it will not affect your medical care or your funeral. So if you would like to give the gift of life, now is the time to make your wishes known.

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