Why should I become an organ donor?

National Transplant Week runs from 7-13 July Photo: PA

From 7-13 July, as part of National Transplant Week, people are being encouraged to speak with their loved ones about organ donation.

Just 45% of families agree to organ donation going ahead if they are unaware of their loved one's decisions to be a donor, but this figure rises to 95% when they do.

20 million people are currently signed up to the donor register and yet, three people every day die while waiting for an organ.

WIth about 10,000 people currently waiting for a life-saving organ donation across the UK it's hoped that more people will talk to their families about their desire to be a donor and so sign up to become one as part of Transplant Week.

About 10,000 people in the UK are currently waiting for an organ transplant Credit: PA

What is organ donation?

Organ donation happens when organs are taken from dead or living people and given to others whose lives are severely affected by a failed organ.

Organs that would otherwise go to waste when a person has died can be given to seriously ill people to dramatically improve and save their lives.

What can be donated?

You can donate your kidneys, heart, liver, lungs, pancreas and small bowel.

As well as major organs, other parts of the body such as eyes, skin, bone, tendons, cartilage and heart valves can all be donated.

Techniques are however always improving and it could soon be possible transplant other parts of the body.

If one donor agrees to donate all their organs they can save up to nine different people.

What if I don't want to donate all my organs?

When you sign up to the organ donation register you can specify which organs you would like to donate.

You can do this by simply ticking the boxes next to the organs you wish to donate.

Anyone can sign up to be a donor, even children Credit: PA

Who is able to donate?

Anyone, regardless or age or health, can sign up to be a donor providing they are considered to be 'legally competent'.

By signing up to be a donor you are legally giving consent for your organs to be donated.

Children can also be registered as donors but their parent, guardians or those with parental responsibility will have to give their consent if the child dies and donation of their organs is being considered.

Do I need to carry my donor card at all times?

It isn't necessary that you keep your donor card on you at all time.

Medical staff will consult the Register at the time of death to see if a person has decided to be a donor.

What if I change my mind?

If you decide you no longer want to be a donor, or want to donate more or fewer organs, you should ring the Register on 0300 123 2323 or visit the organ donation website.