Donating one’s organs, tissue and cornea can save 75 lives, according to Donate Life, yet every day 22 people die waiting for an organ donation.
This number will only increase, with one person being added to the organ donation wait list every 10 minutes, according to Donate Life.
Organ donation is seen as a selfless act in one’s dying moments, but more should be done to ensure people do not die from a lack of available organs.
Currently, the United States allows people to choose whether to become organ donors or not by opting-in. It is imperative to make organ donating an opt-out program. Such an initiative would decrease the number of people dying from failed organs, since more individual’s organs would be harvested.
There are roughly 20 countries as of 2010 that have applied the opt-out system for organ donations. In those countries, like Australia and Belgium, 90 percent of viable people donate their organs. In countries like the U.S., however, which have the opt-in system, only 15 percent of people donate their organs, according to Stanford’s SPARQ.
With such few donations, it is evident why the black market for organs is so lucrative. A kidney can sell for $62,000 in the U.S. and a heart sells for over $130,000 according to Big Think. Eleven thousand organs were obtained through the black market in 2010 alone, reports Big Think. It is not always clear if the donor was willing or not.
Implementing the opt-out system can not only help the thousands of people awaiting organ transplants, but it can also reduce the consequences of the illegal trafficking of organs.
Some individuals argue that an opt-out program would limit a person’s freedom to choose to donate. It clearly does not, considering they can opt-out of the program as opposed to opting-in as the system currently operates.
Once a person is dead, the number of organs they have means nothing to them. To someone struggling to live with ailing organs, a donation can change their life.
In addition to potentially implementing an opt-out program, it is essential to educate individuals on the truths surrounding organ donation to increase the number of organ donors.
Conflicts with one’s religion is a primary argument for anti-organ harvesting; however, all major religions in the U.S. support organ donation, according to Transplants. These religions only care what happens to the soul after death, so an opt-out program is not in conflict with their concerns.
Similarly, the belief that one cannot have a burial if one’s organs have been harvested is another outdated idea. Whether an individual has donated or not will not impact whether they have an open-casket burial.
Luckily, there is no limit on who can become an organ donor. A person of any age or race can be registered as donor. For those under the age of 18, their guardian has to decide whether or not they can donate, but anyone over the age of 18 can register on their own.
Organ donations allow the deceased to aid those suffering. An opt-out program should be enforced so more individuals are encouraged to donate and improve lives.
While we currently operate in an opt-in system, it is essential to make the decision to donate and give someone else the chance to live. Take the time to register as an organ donor, because one donation can save many lives.