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Would you become an organ donor

  Forum Editor 09:44 15 Jan 2016

or would you stop a loved one's organs from being used?

A few years ago, I spent a day at the UK transplant coordination centre in Bristol, seeing how the system works to match available organs to people on the waiting list, and then passing the information to Transplant recovery teams across the country. It was an inspiring experience, and I got to speak to the parents of a young man who had been killed in a motorcycle accident. His organs had helped to save the lives of others.

The service is finding it increasingly hard to get enough organs, and I wondered what your views are - what are your feelings on the subject?

  chub_tor 14:36 23 Jan 2016

bumpkin My wife started with her own mother who was in a nursing home suffering with dementia and when the book was shown to some of the other residents and their relatives they asked if she could do an album for them. It has progressed from there. It takes a lot of self taught skill on my wife's part to get the subject to talk about themselves but as she has found they will often tell things to a "stranger" that they wouldn't say to their family. The albums are those used for scrap booking on 12" square paper and are usually bought when they are on sale, the memories are typed in 2 columns in Word and then literally cut and pasted alongside the photos that I scan, crop, repair etc. No charge is made for the books, sometimes a donation is given to charity. Families who receive them are often amazed to see what their parent/grandfather/ grandmother has done in their life - they see unseen photos, certificates, school reports, awards for services etc. that they never knew existed. Actually it is quite good fun and I enjoy being part of it.

  LastChip 17:21 23 Jan 2016

chub_tor and spider9, good for you both and (perhaps surprisingly), I agree with you spider9 when you say "I expect I'm not alone in doing this!!!". However, I think there are probably far less people doing it than those that don't. That's not to say there's anything wrong with it and indeed passing family history down is something to be treasured. But for many of us (I suspect most) it's one of those things they'll get around to one day and then it's too late. A bit like registering as a donor.

wee eddie, I have to admit I didn't take into account extremely young families, but I think the gist of what I said, in the main is true.

  jonas51 10:52 04 Feb 2016

i don't understand people who don't sign to be organ donors...

  kad292 17:15 04 Feb 2016

jonasS1, It may be cultural or ,as in my sisters case even though she would not know,fear of being cut up after death so not being 'whole',irrational i know but a powerful antidote to those who claim otherwise.

  Forum Editor 15:11 06 Feb 2016


Huge numbers of people have the same, irrational fear - that of being operated on after death. ost organ donors are patients who die as a result of a brain haemorrhage, severe head injury or stroke and are on a ventilator in a hospital. Those are the people who are termed 'Brain dead'.

Other donors are those who are termed donors after circulatory death - their heart has stopped beating. These people are usually in hospital because organ retrieval must take place within a few minutes - after that, the organs begin to deteriorate because they have no supply of oxygenated blood and they cannot be transplanted successfully.

People who die at home or trauma victims who are dead on arrival at hospital, are not suitable donors.

It means that donors have either died in fairly dramatic circumstances, or have been terminally ill in hospital, and I would have thought that the process of organ retrieval would be a minor concern, were they able to give an opinion.

The decision not to become a donor is something that normally happens when you are well, and so these irrational fears tend to surface. It's a great pity, because there are tens of thousands of people who suffer badly or die every year because there are not enough organs or tissue donations to meet demand.

  kad292 17:00 06 Feb 2016


I agree, the serious question to put is ,should being a donor be compulsory or voluntary.As we have seen in various instances,non come to mind specifically,there have been experiments in which organs have been grown as replacements and although these have not been major organs the research is progressing, but until such events become the 'norm' we are left with an had oc situation.

I have stated my support of stem cell research which offers distinct,i believe in my ignorance,possibility of great advances and possibilities in various treatments.I hope present fiscal constraints do not deter from such progressive scientific endeavours.

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