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Organ donation basics

Published May 15. 2010 09:00AM

Most People Can Donate Organs and/or Tissue: All people of all ages should consider themselves potential organ and tissue donors. There are few absolute exclusions (HIV positive, active cancer, systemic infection) and no strict upper or lower age limits. Potential donors will be evaluated for suitability when the occasion arises.

You Are Never Too Old: No one is too old or too young. Both newborns and senior citizens have been organ donors. The condition of your organs is more important than age. Someone 35 years old with a history of alcohol abuse may have a liver that is in worse condition than someone 60 years old who has never consumed alcohol. In addition, people on the waiting list might need to be transplanted with an organ that is less than ideal if there is no other suitable organ available in time to save their lives. Doctors will examine your organs and determine whether they are suitable for donation if the situation arises. If you are under 18, you will need the permission of a parent or guardian to donate.

Medical Condition? Don't Rule Yourself Out:You may still be able to donate your organs. Doctors will evaluate the condition of your organs when the time arises. The transplant team's decision will be based on a combination of factors, such as the type of illness you have had, your physical condition at the time of your death, and the types of organs and tissues that would be donated.

Source: U.S. Government

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