Advisor Connections Newsletter™
February 25, 2016
Organ Donation Frequently Asked Questions
Organ Donation Frequently Asked Questions
In 2002, Ohio established the Ohio Donor Registry, which is maintained by the Ohio Department of Motor Vehicles. By becoming a registrant, you authorize your organs and tissue, if usable, to be recovered upon your death. Under Ohio law, there are four categories of authorized uses for anatomical gifts—(1) transplantation; (2) therapy; (3) research; and (4) education. As an organ donor, you have the right to authorize all or some of these uses and what organs and tissues may be removed.
Am I currently an organ donor?
You can check to see if you are currently in the Ohio Donor Registry by looking at your driver’s license or state identification card—there will be a small icon on the bottom right corner if you are in the registry. You may also check online at www.bmv.ohio.gov.
Should I become an organ donor?
Choosing to become an organ donor is a very personal decision that may be influenced by all types of different factors, including personal experience with other family members or friends, religion or culture, or prevailing misconceptions or unfamiliarity with the organ donation process. Some may wish to be an organ donor, but only for the purpose of transplantation and therapy. Other individuals have opted to donate their entire body for the purpose of research and education—which needs to be done directly with the research institution.
Currently, there are over 100,000 people in the U.S. waiting for an organ transplant, and over 3,400 in Ohio. Unfortunately, there are not enough organ donors to meet the high demand and 18 people die each day while waiting for an organ or tissue donation.
How do I register as a donor in Ohio?
There are three ways to amend your registration or be removed from the Ohio Donor Registry:
What organs and tissues can be donated?
Organs that can be donated include the heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, pancreas, and small intestine. Tissues that can be donated include skin, bone, ligaments, tendons, fascia, veins, nerves, heart valves, and corneas.
Am I too old to be an organ donor?
No. You are never too old to be considered for organ donation. According to Donate Life Ohio, the oldest donor to date donated a liver at the time of her death was 92!
Do my preexisting medical conditions prevent me from being an organ donor?
Not necessarily. Very few medical conditions automatically disqualify someone from being an organ donor. Many times, even though certain organs or tissue may not be suitable for donation, others might be. A review of medical history is conducted at the time of death to determine eligibility.
Will my identity be given to donation recipients?
No. All of the information regarding the identity of the donor and location of the organ or tissue removal are kept confidential. However, both the donor’s family and the recipient can sign waivers to exchange identities, but this must be initiated by both parties.
What is the process for removing organs after a donor dies?
Generally, the process begins when the hospital notifies the donor recovery organization that there has been a death. A determination is made by the recovery organization as to whether or not the organs are suitable for removal. If there are organs and tissue that are recoverable, the organization will check to see if the decedent is in the Ohio Donor Registry. If they are not included in the registry, they may obtain consent from the family of the decedent. The recovery is performed by a qualified surgeon in a way that does not disfigure the body or change its appearance from what it may look like in the casket. After recovery, the body is released to either the coroner or funeral home, depending on the circumstances of the death.
How are organs matched to recipients?
A national waiting list contains recipient information including body size, blood type, medical urgency, length of time spent on the waiting list, and geographic location. All of these are factors considered when identifying the recipient of an anatomical gift.
If you have any questions regarding organ and tissue donation, helpful resources can be found at www.donatelifeohio.org.