Organ Donation FAQ

Although many people in Germany are already organ donors, far too few people are still dealing with this important issue. Only every eighth has documented his decision in an organ donor card. Surveys show that people in particular agree to organ donation that is well informed.

The most common questions and answers about organ donation

For many people, the issue of organ donation is associated with ambiguity and unanswered questions - so they often shy away from deciding to donate organs. Donor organs are urgently needed. Here you will find answers to the most frequently asked questions about organ donation.

What can I enter on an organ donor card? What happens to the ID card?

In the organ donor card anyone can document his decision to donate organs in writing. The card permits various possibilities: one can agree to donate organs, exclude individual organs or tissues, donate only individual organs and tissues, or refuse organ and tissue donation altogether. It is also possible to transfer the decision to a person of trust.

The ID is not registered. That's why you always carry it with you. The credit card size fits in every wallet. If there is no identity card in the case of a brain death, the relatives are asked to decide on the presumed will of the deceased.

Why should I fill out an organ donor card?

There are many arguments in favor of organ donor cards. The most important thing is to give other people the chance of a second life with this decision. It should also be remembered that anyone can get into the situation of relying on a life-saving organ donation and would certainly like to accept that gift themselves. When everyone is ready to give, everyone has a greater chance of getting a life-saving organ when needed.

In addition, one should make his own decision so as not to burden the family in an emergency with this issue.

Is there an age limit for organ donation?

No. At any age a decision for the organ donation is possible. What matters is the functioning of the organs. However, this depends only partially on the calendar age. Whether an organ is suitable for transplantation can only be decided at the time of the removal operation.

Will everything medically possible be done for me if I have agreed to donate organs?

Yes, of course, because the primary goal of doctors and all medical measures is to save the patient's life. Sometimes, however, any help comes too late. The illness or the consequences of an accident have damaged the brain so severely that a rescue of life is not possible with all intensive care measures. If this is the case, the question arises of an organ donation. For this death must be determined by the proof of the failure of all brain functions.

So only people come as an organ donor in question, where there is a brain death. Of the approximately 400, 000 people who die every year in German hospitals, about one percent of brain death occurs before cardiac arrest.

When is an organ donation possible?

Organ donation is only possible if two experienced doctors have independently diagnosed brain death. They must not be involved in the removal or transfer of the organs. Brain death is the irreversible failure of the entire brain, ie the cerebrum, cerebellum and brainstem. The brain is the superordinate controlling organ of all elementary life processes. With its complete failure, man also died in his entirety. The second requirement for an organ donation is the consent of the deceased or his relatives.

What are the criteria for donor organs?

There are established criteria according to which the agency Eurotransplant assigns the donated organs to the patients on the waiting lists. For Germany, the German Medical Association has written precise medical guidelines. In the foreground are the urgency and the chances of success. These guidelines provide equal opportunities for all waiting list patients. A favor, such as a special social status, is excluded and unlawful.

Can the relatives say goodbye to the deceased after the donation?

Yes. The relatives can say goodbye to the deceased in any way they want after the organ removal. The corpse is handed over in a dignified condition for burial.

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