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Organ donations: How to become an organ donor

There are at least 6,414 people in the UK waiting for a transplant. Credit: PA Wire

Donor transplants can save lives, but this can only happen if donors and their families consent to donate their organ tissue.

There are at least 6,414 people in the UK currently waiting for a transplant - here's how you can help.

Living Donation

People can choose to donate organs in the event of their death or - along with blood - people can donate their kidneys, liver, and tissue while they are still alive.

Living donation requires major surgery, but potential donors are carefully assessed to determine their suitability and results have proved successful.

Living donations include:

  • Kidneys - Around a third of all kidney transplants in the UK are donated by a living person as a healthy person can lead a normal life with one
  • Liver - Part of a liver from a living person can be donated because the liver can regenerate itself, although this is less common than living kidney donation
  • Tissue - those undergoing hip operations can donate part of their thigh bone, while amniotic membrane (part of the placenta) can be donated after caesarian section to be used in eye operations

How to become a living donor

To sign up for living organ donation, visit the NHSBT website here, email enquiries@nhsbt.nhs.uk or contact your local transplant centre.

To enquire about donating tissue, email tissue.donation@nhsbt.nhs.uk or contact the National Referral Centre on 0800 432 0559.

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Deceased Donation

Giving organs and tissue after your death can help someone live or improve their health and quality of life.

You can choose to donate:

  • Kidneys
  • Heart
  • Liver
  • Lungs
  • Pancreas
  • Small bowel
  • Corneas
  • Tissue

Click here if you want to join the NHS Organ Donor Register.

The NHS "strongly suggests" people tell their family and friends whether or not they want to be an organ donor in the event of their death.

Visit the NHS Organ Donation website for more information.