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More than 4,500 people in Canada are waiting for a life-saving organ transplant. About half of all organ donors are living donors.
Most people can be organ donors. Many people choose to donate an organ upon their death. But a person can donate certain organs while he or she is still living. These people are called "living donors."
A living donor needs to be:
You can direct your donation to someone you know: a family member, a friend, a co-worker, or a person that you know needs an organ. Other types of living kidney donation are available (e.g., paired exchange or anonymous donation).
Living donors can donate the following:
You can also donate bone marrow, umbilical cord blood, and peripheral blood stem cells.
When you are a possible living donor, your rights and privacy are carefully protected. It's also very important to be informed about the risks of donating an organ.
Here are the steps for making a donation:
Two types of surgery are commonly used to remove an organ or a portion of an organ from a living donor.
Throughout the planning process, know that it's never too late to change your mind about donating an organ. Your long-term health is just as important as that of the person who will receive your donation.
The decision to become a living donor must be made voluntarily and free from pressure.
You don't have to be in perfect health to donate an organ. The living donor coordinator and medical director will do a complete health history. This makes sure you're healthy enough for living donation.
Living organ donation can be risky for both the donor and the recipient. Removing an organ, or a part of an organ, from your body involves major surgery. There is always the risk of complications from surgery, such as pain, infection, pneumonia, bleeding, and even death. After the surgery you may face changes in your body from having removed one of your organs.
Living organ donation can be costly. Your medical expenses related to the transplant surgery will be paid for by your or the recipient's provincial health plan. But also think of your costs in terms of lost wages, child care, and possible medical problems in the future. Check with your insurance provider for more information about coverage.
Living organ donation is rewarding. After a successful transplant, most donors feel a special sense of well-being because they have saved a life.
Adaptation Date: 3/2/2022
Adapted By: Alberta Health Services
Adaptation Reviewed By: Alberta Health Services
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