2. In most countries, it is ILLEGAL to sell your organ. Don't even think about it. (Other forms of payment, such as employment, cars, etc are also not allowed). The motivation for donation must be altruism.
Various financial assistance programs are also available in Canada. Please check with each province.
3. Potential live donors undergo extensive screeninngs by many health care personnel including social workers, psychiatrists, and bioethicists. It is important that potential donors be honest and transparent during these screenings. Trying to hide information such as criminal history is unusally not successful. "Honesty is the best policy." A criminal or mental health history does not necessarily exclude one from donor candidacy.
4. I strongly suggest that each live donor have their own personal health insurance policy in the event of late or lengthy complications occuring that the organ recipient's policy might not cover.
5. If you are married with children, please consider the impact of donation on your family and your finances. The stress of donation should not tear your family apart but this has happened in some cases.
6. If you have ANY concerns about living donation at ANY time, please contact the Donor Advocate at your transplant center. Living donation is a volunatry procedure and you can change your mind and decide not to participate at any time, even the day of surgery. Your reasons will NOT be disclosed to the intended recipient.
7. Draft an Advance Directive (Living Will) that denotes your health care values and appoints a surrogate decision-maker in the event that you cannot speak for yourself. See page 7 of this website for a free form you can download to create your own Living Will.
8. Be a good steward of the organ you plan to donate. No illegal drugs, minimal alcohol, no smoking, no excessive weight gain, etc prior to surgery. Women might be asked to discontinue birth control pills for a time before surgery to minimize the risk of stroke. Ask the donor team physician about this.
For those of you needing an organ, BE INFORMED. Here are some general tips:
1. Depending on where you live and your financial situation, you might be able to be placed on the waiting list at multiple transplant hospitals ("multiple listing"). Ask your transplant center about this. Also see http://www.txmultilisting.com/wait.htm
2. Depending on your situation, you might be eligible for a live organ transplant. Ask your transplant center about this.
4. If you have been declined for a transplant based SOLELY on your age, ask for a second opinion at a different transplant center.
5. If you are waiting for a live organ transplant and have concerns about the altruism/motivations of your potential organ donor, notify the Donor Advocate at your transplant center immediately.
6. Draft an Advance Directive (Living Will) that denotes your health care values and appoints a surrogate decision-maker in the event that you become too ill to speak for yourself. See page 7 of this website for a free form you can download to create your own Living Will.
8. If you are considering living donation, be VERY cautious about potential donors who pursue you via the Internet. Some of these people have altruistic motives while others do not. As a person with end-stage organ failure you are vulnerable because you need a transplant to survive and you need to be wary of those who could attempt to take advantage of you. If you are asked for money, notify your transplant center immediately.
9. If you are unsure if you want to pursue transplantation ask to meet someone who has received an organ transplant so you can ask him/her about the experience. Any transplant center should be able to arrange this for you.
10. Don't participate in organ tourism (going to another country for the express purpose of obtaining a transplant [and buying an organ]). Often, the organ is from a prisoner or poor person who could not give informed consent to be an organ donor. ORGANS SHOULD BE GIFTS FROM PEOPLE WHO GAVE INFORMED CONSENT, NOT COMMODITIES BOUGHT AND SOLD. Also, patients receiving organs in some foreign countries are at risk of receiving sub-standard organs, improper immunosuppression, little or no medical records (or records written in a foreign language), and surgeries performed by those lacking proper training and credentials.
This is Professor Bramstedt's personal web site and the views expressed are her own. The site is not sponsored or supported by Bond University, Luxembourg Agency for Research Integrity, or her clients. The purpose of this web site is educational. Professor Bramstedt will NOT provide medical advice to anyone. You should consult a health care provider in all matters relating to your health, and particularly with respect to any symptoms that may require diagnosis or medical attention. Any action on your part in response to the information provided in this web site is at the reader's discretion. Readers should consult their own health care provider concerning the information on this web site.Polls on this website are opinion polls, NOT research studies.