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Organ donation

There is a constant short of organ donation wordwide. The Dutch Organ Donation Law, (Wet op Orgaandonatie), introduced since 1998, arranges organ donation for transplantation.  The goals of this law are:

  • to increase the amount of organ donations by setting a central registration for testaments of future donors
  • to legitimately distribute the donated organs or body tissues
  • to ban the organ trading

Facts and figures in the Netherlands:

  • At the end of 2008 there were 1.315 people on a waiting list for an organ donation. 563 were on a waiting list for body tissues donation.
  • In 2008 there 158 people were dead while they were standing on the waiting list for an organ (I knew 2 of them)
  • 58 people were taken off the list in 2008 because their condition worsened so that organ transplantation wasn’t possible anymore
  • only 570 people in 2008 have really gotten a donated organ.
  • the waiting list for a kidney lasts 4 years, while for other organs ‘only’ a year

If one is interested in listing oneself as a potential organ donor in the central register, one can choose out of 4 options:

  • yes I give permission
  • no I don’t give permission
  • my next of kin will decide
  • a specific individual decides

A potential registered donor is always able to change his/her decision.

For most recipients an organ donation is a matter of life and death while for the potential donors, it is just about making and taking a choice. I know someone who is a recipient of a kidney. She has her second kidney right now. She received this 4 years ago. Now she is able to actively live her young live, sometimes with minor complications, but hey she is enjoying herself by just not being sick. When I look at those kind of recipients, I am glad that the technology allows us to help other human beings getting on with their lives.

Meanwhile there are, of course, some cons against organ donation. How about from religious side? Most habitants of Dutch religious region, the so called Bible Belt region, are  against organ donation. Some even forbid blood donation, imagine that!

A second con group is healthy people who does consider to be a potential donor but doubts about the destination of their organs cause they won’t help an ex criminal who needs an organ.

The increasing amount of immigrants is actually big potential donors but some of them are unfortunately unknown about this while other immigrant groups refuse the organ donation due to their religion.   

How about you? What is your opinion about this cause?

facts and figures are taken from the website of Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport.

2 thoughts on “Organ donation

  1. Wow, this is a pretty comprehensive and solid overview of the organ donation situation in the Netherlands.

    I guess one of the reasons why only a minority is willing to donate primarily is due to general indolence, lack of interest and involvement and feeling of urgency on the part of most people.

    As for ourselves (my wife and I) : we of course have registered long long ago. By and by we’ve got that old however that when we die our corpses will not be of much use anymore , I’m afraid..

    • Thanks Colson. Your analyses about the possible reason of the lack of potential registered donors might be right. Or perhaps it is simply because people are getting more and more individual nowadays?

      I am also registered, want to donate my eyes if they would still be in good condition when I’d go. Cause I believe strongly donating organs is the last useful thing I can do.

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