Why talk about it?
At the time of death, medical staff will consult the next of kin about the possibility of organ and tissue donation. The sudden loss of a loved one can be a difficult time. When families don’t know your wishes beforehand, many tend to refuse organ donation. So officially registering your wishes in one of the donor registries will legally confirm your status as a donor and, just as importantly, remain securely on record until it’s needed. Notifying your family of your intentions makes it easier to work with medical staff at that critical time and relieves them of a difficult decision, knowing it’s based on the wishes you’ve shared with them. Because the donation and recovery process must be done rapidly, every minute counts.
Who can donate?
Everyone, regardless of age, gender, ethnic origin or sexual orientation can donate. Only the suitability of the organs and tissues counts. When donation takes place, thorough evaluations will be performed to ensure quality organs for the recipients. Age on its own is not an exclusion. In Quebec, the oldest organ donor was 92 years old and the youngest only 48 hours old. The average age of donors is about 52 years of age.
The importance of donation
Organ donation prolongs life. Despite the sensitive circumstances, the vast majority of families who’ve consented to donation report that it’s been a comfort to them. Organ donation is an act of social solidarity. It’s also a generous thing to do. At any given time, more than 800 people are waiting for this precious gift. For many of them, their lives depend on it. Organ donation can soothe your grief, by allowing life to continue in another form. Imagine how you’d feel if it was your own loved one waiting for a donor!
Organ donation in brief
- Only 1.4% of people who die in hospital are likely to become organ donors. Yet a single donor can save as many as 8 lives and help up to 20 people through tissue donation. That’s a maximum of 450 people per year if all necessary conditions align each time.
- 92% of Quebecers are in favour of organ donation.
- More than 800 people were waiting for organ donation in Quebec at the start of 2019.
- In Quebec, every year an average of 500 people of all ages benefit from an organ transplant. Notifying your loved ones of your intentions greatly facilitates the donation process when the time comes.
- Organs eligible for transplant are: the heart, the 2 lungs, the liver (which can be divided into 2), the 2 kidneys, the pancreas, and the face.
- Tissues can be: corneas, heart valves, skin, bones, tendons.
- The green ribbon is the international symbol for organ and tissue donation.
Transplant Québec coordinates organ donations for all of Quebec.