Organ donation

Views on organ donation: recipients

All of the recipients we interviewed had benefited enormously from receiving an organ or organs, usually from a deceased (cadaveric) donor. All of them were very grateful to their donor and donor family and said their lives had been transformed by 'the gift' they’d been given. Their own families could also enjoy spending quality time with them now they were better.
Recipients had urged their friends and family to register and carry a donor card. They’d also registered themselves and many said they’d be happy to donate organs and tissue. Others spoke about the importance of families talking about organ donation and knowing one another’s wishes. Some felt that those who were unsure about organ donation should visit patients on dialysis as well as transplant patients. This way they could see for themselves the benefits of organ donation.
Some of the people we spoke to noted how one donor could save the lives of several patients and also that many transplant patients now live much longer than in the past. Several people mentioned that, while people may be in favour of organ donation, few actually get around to registering. They were keen to raise awareness of organ donation and some had been interviewed on TV, radio and for newspapers. Several had set up their own websites. Many of those we talked to felt it was important for schools to teach children about organ donation as they were ‘the organ donors of the future’.
Deepak and Hardev urged people across religious boundaries to think about organ donation. Deepak said clerics of all denominations had failed to find anything in the scriptures that opposed it, and encouraged others to find out more for themselves.
Some of the people we talked to praised the organ donation system in Spain, a very successful system, because many people there consented to organ donation on the death of a relative. Recipients also discussed the presumed consent organ donation scheme, where organs are taken unless the donor has specifically opted out in writing. They felt this could increase donation rates, and research suggests it could do by up to 25 per cent. In the current ‘opt-in’ system of organ donation in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland individuals are asked to register their willingness to be a donor after their death.
Most of the recipients we talked to were in favour of presumed consent as they felt it would mean more organs would be available and more lives could be saved. A few, though, felt that organs should be donated consciously and freely as a gift. Several felt that education and more training for doctors and nurses would also help raise awareness of organ donation and help increase donation rates.


Last reviewed May 2016.
Last updated May 2016.

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