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Organ Donation Week: Everything you need to know to become a donor

Inspired to become an organ donor? Here's what you need to know

There are currently 6,414 people waiting for a transplant in the UK and being an organ donor can save lives.

With so many inspiring stories during this Organ Donation Week (September 4 to 10), you may want to become one.

If you're thinking about becoming an organ donor there are a few things you should know first.

You can be alive and a donate

Living donation is when someone donates one of their organs while they're alive.

You can still donate a kidney or tissue to someone else.

Volunteers at NHS Organ Donor Week(Image: NHS )

Your organs and tissue can't be used with your consent

The NHS needs consent for your organs and tissue to be used.

To do this, tell a relative or close friend about your wishes or join the NHS Organ Donor Register.

Putting your name on the NHS Organ Donor Register is a good idea

Putting your name on the NHS Organ Donor Register makes it easier for the NHS to know your decision and for your relatives to follow them.

You should tell your family your wishes

You should make sure the person closest to you knows your views on donation because if your decision is not clear, they will be asked what they think you wanted.

Donation won't leave your body disfigured

Specialist healthcare professionals carefully close and cover surgical incisions after donation and the arrangements for a viewing of a loved one’s body after donation are the same as after a death where donation doesn’t take place.

You can still have an open-casket funeral as the body is clothed for burial, so there are no visible signs of organ or tissue donation.

NHS health professionals(Image: NHS)

Religion is no barrier

The major religions in the UK support the idea of organ donation and transplantation. These religions include Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism and Sikhism.

If you're unsure of your faith's position on donation, ask your religious leader or teacher.

You can donate if you have a medical condition

Very few medical conditions automatically disqualify you from donating.

Medical professionals will assess if your organs and/or tissue could be transplanted based on clinical and medical criteria.

Certain organs and/or tissue may not be suitable for transplantation, but others may save or transform lives.

Restrictions

Organs from some people may carry a risk of transmitting an infection or cancer.

You cannot become a donor if you have Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD).

Organs from deceased donors with some current and past cancers may be safely used, with surgeons balancing the risk of using an organ against the risk of a patient dying waiting for a transplant.

Find out more about your eligibility as an organ donor.

Donor card(Image: NHS)

How to register

To add your name to the NHS Organ Donor Register you need to fill out a simple form with your information and preferences.

The form takes two minutes to complete and you can find it at https://www.organdonation.nhs.uk/register-to-donate/.

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