Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “the only gift is a portion of thyself.” What better gift to give than organ donation upon your death? Even though organ donation is a practice that is over half a century old (the first successful donation was in 1954), there are still many questions about organ donation. Here are some of the most frequently misunderstood elements of organ donation.
The need for organ donation
In Québec, all the people needing an organ transplant are put on a waitlist managed by Transplant Québec, the organization that coordinates the organ donation process. Only when a person dies in hospital under specific circumstances, can their organs be donated. So, as few as 1.4% of people who die in hospital can become organ donors. The numbers translate to approximately 450 to 500 people annually, across Québec, and that too, only if they meet all the requirements.
Registering for organ donation
Canada uses donor registration to let family members know of your decision. You can have a sticker affixed to the back of your Health Card. The donor registration can also remain confidential and only be accessed at the end of your life to share your choice with your family. You can always change your mind at any time once you register.
Eligibility for organ donation
Organ donation eligibility is determined at time of death. Every organ is tested for suitability to try and help as many people as possible. Even if you have a serious illness or are older, you may still be able to donate. Every individual case is evaluated based on all medical factors.
Organ Donation Won’t Affect Funeral Plans
Organ donation will not disrupt any plans you or your loved one made with the funeral home. You can still have an open casket if you prefer to have a traditional funeral service. Most major religions do support organ and tissue donations. Talk to your religious leader if you have concerns.
Discuss your organ donation decision with your family today. Although your family cannot override your decision, Transplant Québec prefers that the family consents. It can help your family accept your decision at a difficult time.