You can donate certain organs while you are alive. Living organ donors can donate a kidney. To become a living donor, you must give informed consent. More organs may only be donated after death (that is, kidneys, heart, lungs, pancreas, heart valves, eyes, etc.).
Having a medical condition does not prevent you from becoming a donor (an individual decision will be made by a healthcare professional at the time of your death).
The medical team treating you if you are ill is separate from the transplant team. Organs are only removed when 2 doctors, working independently, have certified that the person is dead following a series of strict tests.
It is important to know that the removal of organs is carried out with the same care and respect as any other operation. Organ donation does not disfigure the body or change the way it looks nor does it cause any delay to funeral arrangements.
Signing an organ donor card or a driving license donation option indicates your willingness to have your organs used for transplant. It does not necessarily mean that they will be used. There are various medical criteria and other conditions that must be met. To ensure safe transplantation, the death must take place in a hospital. Your next-of-kin should know of your wish to be an organ donor, but they are not bound to abide by your wishes and their consent is always required.
In all cases, the medical team requests the next-of-kin to donate the organs of a deceased person. In practice, the consent of the next-of-kin is accepted as valid and a refusal by the next-of-kin is not contested.
Children and mentally incapacitated adults: Neither children nor mentally incapacitated adults may give consent to body or organ donation. In practice, parents do give consent to organ donation by their deceased children and this is accepted, but there is no law dealing with the question.
The Irish Donor Network: The Irish Donor Network is a group of individuals and patient associations directly concerned with organ transplantation, donor families and medical coordinators involved in organ and tissue transplantation. Those involved in the Network are:
The Irish Donor Network promotes, prints and distributes the Gift of Life Donor Card. By carrying the card and informing your family, you indicate your intention of donating organs and tissue for the purpose of transplantation in the event of your death.
Where To Apply: You can contact any member of the Irish Donor Network for further information or for organ donor cards.
Free text the word ‘Donor’ to 50050 or Lo-call Donor House at the number below.
Irish Donor Network, care ofIrish Kidney AssociationDonor House
Tel: Lo-Call 1890 543 639 / 01 620 5306
Fax: 01 620 5366
Email: [email protected]