Talking to children about organ/tissue donation can be difficult. Following are some simplified answers to the most frequently asked questions from kids about donation. For more on talking to kids about organ/tissue donation, visit Mid-America Transplant Service's KidZone.
What organs and tissues can be donated after someone dies?
Organs that are suitable for transplantation include the heart, lungs, liver, pancreas, small intestine and kidneys. Tissues includes corneas to restore sight, saphenous veins; bone to prevent amputation; heart valves for children born with heart problems or adults with heart disease; tendons to replace damaged tissues in injured joints; and skin as a temporary covering to reduce pain and infection in burn victims. More than 25 people can benefit from a single donor.
Who will receive the organs?
Donated organs are transplanted into the people who need them most. A national computer system matches donated organs according to a system that considers how sick a person is, how long they have been on the waiting list, their blood type, body size and other information.
Who can donate? You must be age18 or over to join the registry. People under age 18 may be donors; however, family consent is required. There currently is no registry for those under age18. This is one reason why it is so important for those under 18 to talk to their family about donation.
What can parents and teachers do?
The first step is to join the registry.To obtain materials to help with talking to kids about organ/tissue donation, please call 800-210-2106. Visit the Request Materials or Speakers section.