How do I obtain an Organ Donor bracelet/necklace/disk?
Medic Alert and Elixir Medical Shields provides these items, not the Organ Donor Foundation. Please telephone Medic Alert on (021) 425 7328/ 0861 112 979 or Elixir Medical Shields on 0861 115 178 for further information.
How do I become a potential organ / tissue donor?
The process is straightforward. Register online or call the Organ Donor Foundation toll free on 0800 22 66 11. We will then send you a small organ donor card to fill in and carry in your wallet. We will also send you a sticker to put on your ID document and on your driver’s license. It is most important to discuss the decision with your family. Let them know you want to donate your organs after death. Ask them to honour your wish when you die.
Who can be an organ / tissue donor?
Any person, who is in good health, and is clear of defined chronic diseases that might adversely affect the recipient will be considered as a possible donor.
Can I be a donor if I have an existing medical condition?
Having a medical condition does not necessarily prevent a person from becoming an organ donor. The decision about what organs will be transplanted will be established at your time of death.
Which organs can be transplanted?
Your heart, liver and pancreas can save three lives and your kidneys and lungs can help up to 4 people. You can save seven lives.
Which tissues can be transplanted?
You can help up to 50 people by donating your corneas, skin, bone and heart valves.
Can I agree to donate only some organs or tissue and not others?
Yes. Please inform your family which organs/tissue you do not wish to donate.
How long after death do the organs / tissue have to be removed?
It is essential that organs / tissue are removed as soon as possible after brain death in order to ensure successful transplantation. Brain death has to be certified by two independent doctors.
Is there any cost involved in signing up as an organ / tissue donor?
No, it costs nothing to sign up as an organ donor.
Does my family pay for the cost of donation?
No, The hospital or state will cover all medical expenses from the moment of diagnosis of brain death and when your family has given consent for the removal of organs/tissue.
Would my family receive compensation for donating my organs/tissue?
No. Organ / tissue donation is a gift.
Can people buy or sell organs and tissue?
No, Organ / tissue donation is a Gift of Life from one family to another. Trading in organs and tissue is illegal.
Can I donate an organ / tissue while I am alive?
Yes, in some cases. Live donations, such as a kidney are often done between family members, because the blood groups and tissue types are more compatible to ensure a high success rate.
How do doctors know I am really dead?
Two doctors, who are completely independent of the transplant team, have to perform detailed tests before a person can be declared brain dead. The criteria for brain death are very strictly adhered to and accepted medically, legally and ethically in South Africa and internationally.
Can doctors keep me alive on support systems?
All potential organ donors are patients on support systems. They are submitted to tests to certify brain death and become organ donors once brain death is certified and permission is obtained for organ donation. Death of the organ donor is defined by the time of certification of brain death, not by the withdrawal of support.
Does being a donor delay the funeral?
No. As soon as the donated organs / tissue has been removed, the body is returned to the family to bury or cremate.
Does organ / tissue donation leave my body disfigured?
No. The utmost respect and dignity is given to the donor at all times. The recovery of organs and tissue are carried out with great care by surgeons and trained staff and the process does not change the way the body looks. . How do I become an organ / tissue donor? Phone the Organ Donor Foundation Toll Free 0800 22 66 11. Or register online at www.odf.org.za Always carry an Organ Donor Card in your wallet and place an Organ Donor Sticker on your ID document and on your driver’s license. It is important for your family to be aware of your wishes as WITHOUT their consent your organs / tissue cannot be donated.
Steps your family needs to take to ensure your wishes are carried out:
Speak to the medical professional attending to your loved one – physician, ICU & trauma unit nurse, neurologist etc Inform them of your loved ones wishes Ask for contact details of the closest transplant centre Or call the Organ Donor Foundation Toll Free Line 0800 22 66 11 for assistance
Are there religious objections to transplantation?
Most religions support organ and tissue donation, as it is consistent with life preservation. If you are unsure, you should talk to your spiritual leader.
Can I change my mind?
Yes. You can change your mind at any time. Simply tear up your organ donor card and remove your sticker from your ID document and driver’s license. Please inform your family that you no longer wish to be an organ donor.