SHOCKING: Less than 0.2% of SA are organ donors

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Giving someone the gift of life is one of the best things you can do. As an organ donor, you can save up to seven people who are desperately waiting for much needed organs.

Register online or call the Organ Donor Foundation on 0800 22 66 11. You’ll receive a card to fill in and carry in your wallet, as well as stickers to put on your ID and driver’s licence. Make sure you discuss your decision with your family and ask them to honour your decision when you die.

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Are there any costs involved in becoming an organ donor? 

No, it won’t cost a thing to sign up as an organ or tissue donor. Your family will also not have to pay anything. The hospital or tissue bank covers all medical expenses from the moment your family gives consent for the donation. They will also not receive any compensation.

I’m worried that the doctors will make a mistake and harvest before I’m actually dead. How do they know I’m dead? 

Two doctors, both independent of the transplant team, perform detailed tests before declaring a person brain dead. This is a very strict protocol and has to be adhered to and accepted medically, legally and ethically in South Africa and internationally.

Will I be kept alive on life support?

Yes, any potential donor is kept on life support. As soon as brain death is confirmed, permission is obtained for the organ donation. Death of the organ donor is defined by the time of certification of brain death and not withdrawal of life support.

Do I have to have any tests done?

No, the only tests carried out are at the time of death. Doctors will check your medical and social history, take blood and culture tests, and perform a physical examination. This is simply to make sure your organs and tissues are suitable for donation.

Who can sign up as a donor? 

Anyone in good health and clear of any defined chronic disease that may affect the recipient is considered a possible donor.

I signed up to be an organ donor but now I’ve changed my mind. What do I do? 

Just notify your family of your decision, tear up your organ donor card and remove the sticker from your ID and driver’s licence.

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