According to the United States Organ and Tissue Transplantation Association, organ donation is defined as tissue or organ removal from a deceased or living donor, for transplantation purposes. Tissues and organs are moved in a surgical procedure. Afterwards, they are transplanted to a recipient to ensure their recovery.
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Typically, organ donors give their vital organs to others after they die. However, living individuals often donate paired organs such as the kidneys. The United States government enforces organ donation and transplantation through strict requirements and standards. Organ donation gives recipients, who would not otherwise survive their illness, a new chance at life.
There is a substantial need for tissue and organ donors in the United States. According to Donate Life America, there are more than 86 million registered tissue, organ and eye donors in America. However, more than 106,000 women, men and children are still in need of donated organ, tissue and corneal transplants. The waiting list for organ donors is short because everyone is not able to donate. For example, a potential donor must meet medical and behavioral criteria. He must also be free of certain communicable diseases. The Health Resources and Services Administration reports that minority donors are especially in demand due to their susceptibility to certain disease such as leukemia and kidney disease.
According to the Mayo Clinic, one donor can save up to eight recipients and enhance the lives of 50 others. Organ donation costs nothing and it gives the gift of life. With scientific breakthroughs, doctors are able to harvest several tissues and organs from the deceased donor. This means that more than one person’s life is saved or improved. Donating organs may also help remaining family members cope with their loved one’s death.
Organ donation helps further medical research which indirectly saves and improves lives. According to the United States Organ and Tissue Transplantation Department, donating tissues, organs or a body to a medical facility, research institute or university allows scientists and doctors to understand certain diseases and their effect on the human body. Emerging research may bring forth cures and treatments for previously undiscovered medical conditions.