Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Organ Donations

During our discussion of the human immune system, a couple comments about organ donation were brought up. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, 118,228 people are waiting for an organ, and 18 people will die everyday waiting for an organ. I did some more research on the topic and found some interesting points regarding the more legislative side of it. As briefly mentioned in class, there are two main ways countries deal with consent for organ donation: opt-in vs. opt-out. In the opt-in method, donors give explicit consent, while in the opt-out method citizens will be
on the list unless they choose to be removed. As would be expected the opt-out system dramatically increases the percentage of the population that gives consent. For example Austria uses the opt-out system and has 99.98% consent rate, while one of its neighboring countries, Germany uses the opt-in system and only has a rate consent of 12%. In the US, citizens and residents, have the option to opt-in when they get or renewal a driver's license as well as register online. The two main agencies that  govern Organ Procurement Organizations are in the US are the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) and Organ Procurement and Transplant Network (OPTN). UNOS uses a computer program that generates matches based on criteria including distance, blood type and status. Lives of people around the world have been saved through organ donations, so the next time you go to the DMV remember that one organ donor can save up to 8 lives. 

No comments: