World Organ Donation Day 2020: Origin, History, Significance and Facts

World Organ Donation Day 2020: The day provides an opportunity to come forward and pledge to donate their organs after death which will save the lives of various people. About organ donation, there are myths and fears in people's minds due to a lack of awareness. 

About Organ Donation

Organ donation is retrieving a donor's organ like heart, liver, kidneys, intestines, lungs, and pancreas after the donor is deceased and then transplanting into another person who is in need of an organ. 

Or we can say is organ donation is the practice of retrieving a human organ from a living or deceased person, who is known as a donor, and then transplanting it into a recipient. Let us tell you that the recipient will be a patient who is suffering from organ failure and who will not be able to survive unless he or she receives an organ replacement. Therefore, the process of recovering organs is known as Retrieval.

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Types of Organ Donors

There are two types of organ donors: Living and Deceased donors

Living donor: A healthy person who is willing to donate an organ. Basically, living donors are over 18 years old and are subjected to several health assessments both mental and physical. This is done to determine that the person who is willing to donate an organ understands the risks and implications that donation can have on his or her life later. From country to country rules for living organ donation slightly varies.

Deceased donor: A deceased person who has expressed his or her wish to donate their organs. Several people register to become deceased donors but only some of them are suitable. The deceased donor has to be brain dead. 

List of Organs that can be donated

Organs that can be donated by a person after death and while the person is still alive are as follows:

1. Kidneys: A deceased donor can donate both the kidneys. The lifespan of a transplanted kidney on an average is around nine years, but it may vary from individual to individual. Kidneys are the most frequently donated organs and demand for kidneys is highest. A living donor can easily donate one kidney to someone in need and one kidney functions well for the rest of their lives.

2. Liver: The function of a liver is bile production and excretion and is an important organ. Other functions of the liver are excretion of bilirubin, cholesterol, hormones and drugs, metabolism of fats, proteins and carbohydrates, enzyme activation, storage of glycogen, vitamins, and minerals, synthesis of plasma proteins, blood detoxification and purification. In the human body liver is the only organ that can grow cells and regenerate. 

Do you know that a donated liver from someone who has died can further be split into two pieces and transplanted into two different people to save their lives? While a living donor can donate a portion of his or her lever to someone and the remaining portion will regenerate to almost its full previous size.

3. Heart: Heart pumps blood through the human body and is a muscular organ. When the heart is donated after being retrieved from the donor, a heart can survive for 4-6 hours only.  

4. Pancreas: From a deceased donor pancreas can be transplanted into an ailing patient. In fact, a living donor can also donate a portion of the pancreas and still retain pancreas functionality. 

5. Lungs: From deceased donors, single or double lung transplantation can be performed. And a living donor can donate a single lobe from the lungs but it will not regenerate.

6. Intestine: A donor can donate their intestine after death. It is quite rare that a living donor can donate a portion of the intestine. 

Further in addition to organs tissued can also be donated like corneas, skin, bones, ligaments, heart valves, etc.

No doubt every organ donation is a gift of life for somebody in need. As discussed above a healthy individual can donate some organs or parts of organs like kidney or a part of their liver or lung, as well as tissues, blood, and bone marrow. However, most organs are collected from deceased donors. It is said that one deceased donor can save up to eight lives because up to 8 lifesaving organs can be donated: 1 heart, 2 lungs, 1 liver, 1 pancreas, 2 kidneys, and intestines.

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