Organ donations have saved thousands of lives from across the world already, and currently thousands more people are awaiting for donations. In the U.S. alone, more than 123,000 individuals are in need of one to save or extend their lives. This is why February 14 was declared a National Donor Day in order to bring awareness to these needs and to encourage more people to become organ donors. Organs that can be donated include heart, lungs, kidney, liver, pancreas, intestines and cornea. Bones, veins, skin, middle, middle ear and ligaments can be donated too, though they are seldom in demand.
List of Pros of Organ Donation
1. Save lives
The major pro of organ donation is obvious – to save lives. According to the American Transplant Foundation, the U.S. has more than 123,000 on the waiting list for lifesaving organ transplant. Another name is added to that list every 12 minutes, which means that 124 people need an organ transplant every day. But here’s a sobering fact, there is a shortage of donors. The ATF noted that an average of 21 people die every day due to lack of available organs.
2. Enhance quality of life
More than just extending lives, organ donation can also enhance or improve quality of life. It can restore a person’s sight, hearing, normal functioning of the heart, and so on. In fact, more than 90 percent of corneal transplant have helped hundreds of people to see again.
3. Help grieving families
Many families with loved one who had his or her organs donated at the time of his or her death felt the act has helped them dealt with the loss of that loved one. There is a sense of goodness in knowing that their family member did not die in vain and that a part of that person continues to live on, albeit in someone else’s body.
While organ transplant has high initial cost, it may prove to be cost-effective in the long run when compared to the cost of life-long medical care.
List of Cons of Organ Donation
1. Social stigmas.
“Who” receives the organ can be an issue for some families. Admit or not, there are people who have stigmas against religions, ethnicities and races. This often prevents some from volunteering to be an organ donor.
2. Unethical buying and selling of organs
Here’s a reality, there is a black market out there for some types of organs, especially kidneys. Unethical buying and selling of organs are prevalent in poor countries like Pakistan, Ukraine, Iran and China. In 2006, reports emerged that some state-run hospitals in China were killing prisoners to sell their organs. And just a few months ago, human rights lawyer David Matas and former Canadian MP David Kilgour released a documentary that reveals in gory details China’s underground organ market.
Organ donation can save hundreds of lives; however, it is not always available to everyone. In addition, it is being abused by others, putting other people at risk. The unethical buying and selling of organs can be prevented though if more individuals would choose to become organ donors by partnering with authorized organizations.
Natalie Regoli is a child of God, devoted wife, and mother of two boys. She has a Master's Degree in Law from The University of Texas. Natalie has been published in several national journals and has been practicing law for 18 years.