How to Become an Organ Donor

The medical world has come a long way since the first organ transplant happened in Germany in 1823. Since then, organ transplants have saved millions of lives, but every day, more critically ill patients are added to the national waiting list. Sadly, the need for life-saving organ transplants is increasing much quicker than the organs are becoming available. However, by becoming an organ donor you can possibly be the difference between life or death for someone else. Here’s how you can become an organ donor…

All it takes to become an organ donor are a few easy steps.

  1. Register online or give the Organ Donor Foundation of South Africa (ODF) a call on their toll-free number – 0800 22 66 11.
  2. You will then be sent an organ donor card which you’ll need to fill out. Carry this card with you at all times.
  3. You will also receive a sticker to place on your ID document and driver’s license.
  4. Discuss your decision with your family so they are aware that you are now an organ donor. Ask your loved ones to respect and honour your decision.
  5. Set up a living will in which you indicate your wishes to donate your organs should you die.

CAN I BE A DONOR?

If you are in good health and you don’t suffer from specific chronic illnesses, you are eligible to become an organ donor. Contact the ODF to find out more about which chronic or existing diseases could determine whether you would be considered a donor.

WHICH ORGANS CAN BE TRANSPLANTED?

The medical profession looks at two types of transplants – organ and tissue transplants. When it comes to organs, your heart, liver, pancreas, kidneys and lungs could save up to seven lives. Meanwhile, tissue donations include corneas, skink, bone, tendons and heart valves. These tissue organs could easily save up to 50 people.

DO I HAVE TO DONATE ALL MY ORGANS?

No. You can state which organs you are willing to donate by clearly indicating it on the donor card given to you.

HOW MUCH DOES ALL THIS COST?

Absolutely nothing. By law, the hospital and or Tissue Bank will cover all medical expenses from the moment your family gives consent to have your organs/tissue donated.

WHAT IF I CHANGE MY MIND?

Don’t worry. You can simply tear up the donor card and remove the provided stickers from your ID book and driver’s license. If you’re wearing a donor bracelet, you simply need to stop wearing it. It’s as easy as that. Also make sure your family are aware that you no longer wish to donate organs or tissue should you die.

For more information on how to become an organ donor, you can call the Organ Donor Foundation of South Africa on their toll-free number on 0800 22 66 11 or visit their website.


Source: Organ Donor Foundation of South Africa

Originally published on 13 August 2017.