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World Organ Donation Day: Do You Know What Are The Organs You Can Donate?

World Organ Donation Day: Do You Know What Are The Organs You Can Donate?
Human anatomy

While most organ donations occur after the death of the donor, some organs and tissues can be donated while the person is alive.

Written by Longjam Dineshwori |Updated : August 13, 2021 4:01 PM IST

Today, 13th of August, is observed as World Organ Donation Day every year to spread awareness on organ donation and encourage people to donate their organs after death. Donating organs is like gifting life to the one in need. One organ donor can give a new lease of life to 8 people and improve over 75 more. Organ transplantation can transform the life of a person. But are you aware of the organs you can donate while you're alive and organs that can be donated after death?

When it comes to organ donation, most people think of kidneys and liver. But there are many other organs one can donate. Due to lack of awareness regarding organ donation in India, not many people come forward to donate organs and save the lives of those in dire need of organs. Lakhs of people are waiting to get organs and improve their quality of life. Hence, it is the need of the hour to encourage organ donation in people. Organ donation is a noble act.

Now the question is: What are the body parts that can be donated? To find the answer we spoke to Dr. Mahesh Prasad, Consultant Nephrologist, Wockhardt Hospitals Mumbai on World Organ Donation Day. He explained:

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List of body parts allowed for donation

All people are potential organ and tissue donors-regardless of age, health, race, or ethnicity. While most organ and tissue donations occur after the death of the donor, some organs and tissues can be donated while the person is alive. Organs and tissues allowed for donation are:

  • Eyes/corneas
  • Heart and heart valves
  • Lungs liver
  • Kidneys
  • Intestines
  • Pancreas
  • Veins
  • Skin
  • Bone
  • Tendons
  • Cartilage
  • Ligaments
  • The middle ear

Organs and tissues you can donate after your death

After death, virtually anything can be donated but common ones are:

  • Kidneys (2)
  • Liver
  • Lungs (2)
  • Heart and heart valves
  • Pancreas
  • Intestines
  • Corneas
  • Arteries and veins
  • Hands and face.

Organs and tissues you can donate while you're alive

  • One kidney
  • One liver lobe
  • A lung or part of a lung
  • Part of the pancreas or the intestines
  • Skin
  • Bone
  • Healthy cells from bone marrow and umbilical cord blood.
  • Amnion (donated after childbirth)
  • Blood and platelets.

To become a living donor, one should be physically fit, in good health, between the ages of 18 and 60, and should not have (or have had) diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure, kidney disease, or heart disease.

The most commonly transplanted organs

Dr. Prasad threw further light on the most commonly transplanted organs. According to him, the organs that are most commonly transplanted are kidneys, heart, liver, pancreas, intestines, lungs, bones, bone marrow, skin, and corneas but only after a thorough examination and monitoring of the health of the donors and recipients.

If the whole heart cannot be transplanted, then one can even donate the heart valves. Talking about the lungs, two lungs can be transplanted into one recipient or separated and transplanted into two different recipients. The same goes with kidneys, as two kidneys are given to one recipient or separately transplanted to two different recipients. It is possible to divide the liver and transplant the parts into two recipients. As already said, even the pancreas can be donated, and it is often transplanted with a kidney from the same donor - he said.

You can also donate your tissues that can give a fresh lease of life to an individual. Eye tissue can help with the transplantation of the cornea and the sclera. Bone tissue can be grafted in order to replace the bone that has been damaged due to accidents or any disease. It is a no-brainer that skin can also be grafted in case of burns or trauma. Damaged tendons can be replaced by new ones - he added.

To clear the misconceptions regarding organ donation, it is advisable to consult an expert who can guide you on this matter