Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Donations Welcome

The issue of organ donation has, understandably, always been a sensitive one, and despite the many campaigns and debates there is still a severe lack of registered donors. During the last few weeks there have been a number of news stories relating to this very issue, with one story in particular looking at the idea of compulsory donation - whereby everybody would be presumed a willing donor unless they opted out at some point during their lifetime. In addition to this, a story on the BBC News website focused on an article written by Sue Rabbitt Rof, a researcher at the University of Dundee, who said that payment for kidney donations should be considered in order to encourage more donations. Whilst another popular story has been the change to the online driving licence application process, which now requires everyone applying for a licence to indicate whether or not they wish to join the organ donation register.

The statistics on the NHS Blood and Organ Donation website makes for sobering reading, with ‘only 29% of us having joined the Organ Donor Register’. Things quite obviously need to change, and although the recent development to the aforementioned online driving licence application is a good start, more needs to be done. I for one welcome the idea of compulsory donation, as I believe that it would not only force more people to make a decision on the matter, but would also mean that all decisions would have to be registered officially. Another advantage to this proposed system, is that it ensures anybody who registers as a donor will (in most cases) not have their wishes overruled by loved ones in the event of their death - a situation which sadly can and does occur.

The concept of payments being awarded in exchange for organs such kidneys is not something I agree with however, and promoting it as a possible way for people to pay off their debts, such as student loans, is both dangerous and irresponsible. Peoples’ judgements are often clouded whenever money becomes a motivating factor, so our current system for living donors which relies on people making the decision to undergo potentially life-threatening and painful surgery as an act of altruism, is surely the safer option.

For now the debates and campaigns continue, and while we wait for much-needed change, supplies are short, and in high demand.

If you want more information on donation, or you would like to register as a donor, please visit the organ donation website here.

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