Should I Be an Organ Donor? Weighing the Pros and Cons

Did you know that 58 percent of Americans have opted in as organ donors? While this sounds like a lot, the country still needs many more organ donors to help those on the transplant list and reduce unnecessary deaths.

Are you wondering, “Should I be an organ donor?” Although organ donation has several benefits, you still might have some concerns that prevent you from opting in. These might come from rumors you’ve heard or just misunderstandings of the organ donation process.

Read on to learn about the pros and cons of organ donation to make an informed decision.

What Are the Benefits of Organ Donation?

When you donate your organs, you gain the benefit of having saved someone’s life. As long as they’re healthy, your organs will go to those on the transplant list who really need them. You can boost your self-esteem knowing you will make a difference and give a stranger another chance at life!

Even better, you can still donate some organs like kidneys when you’re alive and see the benefits of your donation then. This happens when you decide to become a living donor.

When your organs get donated after you pass away, your family can also benefit from knowing that while you’re gone, you still helped another family. This can even help your family form new relationships with the recipient’s family and celebrate your life for years to come.

Lastly, medical professionals can use your organs for medical research after you pass away. This can lead to new treatments that help cure or treat serious medical problems.

What Downsides of Organ Donation Should I Know?

While organ donation can offer much, some people can’t become organ donors. Often, this happens if you have a severe medical condition like HIV or cancer. Also, you can’t donate organs that have damage, and the recipient may experience issues with transplant rejection even with a healthy organ donation.

Organ donation can also put more strain on your family as they try to heal, especially when you need life support during the process. For example, this checklist provides an overview of what to do after someone passes away, and your family may find dealing with extending the grieving process very emotionally difficult.

If you decide to become a living donor, then you have more issues to consider when it comes to your health, finances, and employment situation. You’ll have to deal with time off work, lifestyle changes as you recover, and the possibility your employer doesn’t offer you a leave from work. This type of organ donation also comes with the risk that you might face long-term health issues.

So, Should I Be an Organ Donor?

After learning these pros and cons, you should know the answer to the question “Should I be an organ donor?” If you’re eligible and willing to deal with some tradeoffs, many transplant recipients and their families will thank you.

If you decide to opt in, know you have many options. You can do so when you renew your driver’s license, have a power of attorney written with your decision, or contact your state’s registry.

Want more health information? Then go check out our other posts.