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reminder about organ donation

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I know this is a little off topic for a personal finance blog, but it was inspired by a comment that guinness416 left on my gift economy post but seriously folks when you’re dead, get your organs donated if possible. I genuinely can’t think of a single good reason why you shouldn’t.

The thing to do, is to be on an organ donor register if you’re in an opt-in system and to not opt out if you’re in an opt out system.

The next thing to do, is to inform your nearest and dearest that in the event of your untimely demise, you want your organs donated. This can be hard to bring up - my preferred choice was to say:

Just to let you know, if you die and they’ll take your organs, I’m going to have them donated. Feel free to do the same for me. 

Because, that’s another point. You’re probably more likely to be involved in the decision to donate someone else’s organs as you are to have your own donated. As you can tell, I think that (as a strong default) you should go ahead and donate their organs if you can. I’d probably want to donate regardless of the feelings of the now dead person, but I can be hard-hearted, you’ll have to make your own minds up.

But the important thing really, is to think about what you would do in advance. And then hope that it never comes up.

And while we’re on the subject of death, don’t forget that you should have a will, and sufficient life insurance. 

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16 comments for “reminder about organ donation”

  1. Well to do with donations. Some people have certain diseases and illnesses which don’t allow them to donate there organs, others have religious reasons to not donate. Some people believe that the body must be maintained as a whole after death and other think the what if’s, what if I’m still alive when it happens (because this sometimes does happen).

    Posted by Save Money | April 14, 2008, 3:15 pm
  2. Whilst I agree that if you have an illness which means that you shouldn’t donate your organs then, of course you shouldn’t. And if you do, they won’t be used. That’s a good reason to not donate those particular organs, not to be against organ donation in general.

    I am aware that people have religious reasons that mean that they think that they shouldn’t donate. Based on my own worldview I am of the opinion that whilst they are reasons, they are not good reasons - other people undoubtedly disagree.

    Posted by plonkee | April 14, 2008, 3:51 pm
  3. I agree with you, I think it should be an opt out system instead of an opt in. I have lost a couple of people close to me and I honestly wish that their organs had been donated as I think it makes you feel like something good came out of it, even in times of awful grief. Sadly I wasn’t the “decision maker”.
    So few death’s are organ donation friendly anyways, so even people who really want to may not have their organs donated, which is another reason why the numbers are so low!

    I’m a new reader to your blog, started my personal finance blog yesterday. I’m really enjoying your PF journey!
    May I add you to my blogroll?

    Posted by Frugal Trenches | April 14, 2008, 5:56 pm
  4. I was so excited when I added “organ donor” on my driver’s license. It seems like going out with a good deed (potentially) would be awesome!

    I also know the value of good organs. My mom needs a different liver. She can’t get one because her cancer metasticized, so she’s a bad candidate…and people who aren’t going to die could use the livers more. But if there were an abundance of livers, perhaps it could extend her life, since that’s where the really bad tumors are.

    She’s donating her body to research for her form of cancer, since it’s rare. I think that’s awesome! :)

    Posted by Mrs. Micah | April 14, 2008, 8:29 pm
  5. Yes! Donate your organs! I mean, what are you going to do with them after you’ve left this earthly plane anyway!? You could save a life.

    Posted by deepali | April 14, 2008, 9:27 pm
  6. @Frugal Trenches:
    Add away. I look forward to checking you out.

    @Mrs. Micah:
    That is awesome. And you are all generous people. It’s a shame that there aren’t more livers to go around, but on the other hand I wouldn’t want more people to die to provide them - that would seem to defeat the object. Perhaps synthetic organs would be a better permanent solution?


    Posted by plonkee | April 14, 2008, 10:22 pm
  7. Synthetic organs would be awesome. I feel like we have a while to go on those, though.

    Posted by Mrs. Micah | April 15, 2008, 2:07 am
  8. I have a problem with this topic. It’s probably my squeamishness about death/horror at having loved ones ‘harvested’. I think, even though I agree on paper with donating organs, the reality of it would make me very uncomfortable. But I’m glad you brought it up, it’s something we should all give serious thought.

    Posted by Kerstin Doe | April 15, 2008, 8:45 am
  9. You know that not everyone is a christian, and therefore may not have access to a church organ to donate. Not many spare organs these days I would expect either. I know there are a few other different kinds of organs, but there is less and less call for them…

    Posted by Llama for brains | April 15, 2008, 9:24 am
  10. @Kerstin:
    I do know what you mean, but I’m just not sure that the alternatives (decomposing and/or being burnt immediately) are that much more appealing.

    @Llama for brains:

    Posted by plonkee | April 15, 2008, 12:51 pm
  11. Regardless of your religion I can’t see any kind of god being upset at such a selfless act. Weird coensidence, I just saw my organ donor letter from the State of Illinois last night while I was finishing up my taxes.

    Posted by Quad City Attorney | April 15, 2008, 6:03 pm
  12. What’s with all the “ossum” plonkee, are you going to the dark side?

    Posted by guinness416 | April 16, 2008, 1:14 am
  13. @ plonkee, I wasn’t saying it was bad thing, just that in your post you said you couldn’t think of any reasons to not to donate (although now I can’t find where you said that haha) so maybe I imagined it, or maybe it’s late. Or maybe it’s both either way I was just putting out some reasons.

    Posted by Save Money | April 16, 2008, 4:53 am
  14. @Save Money:
    I did say that I couldn’t think of a good reason. And I am glad that you pointed them out.

    Posted by plonkee | April 16, 2008, 8:16 am
  15. @guinnes416:
    Oh no, I’m starting to sound like a yank. If I start calling anyone sweetheart, it’ll be too late to save me.

    I need to use brilliant more, I think.

    Posted by plonkee | April 16, 2008, 8:18 am
  16. Hi,

    This was a very interesting post to me, thank you for writing it. I believe in organ donating, and cloned organs, love the whole science of it. I have two comments around it:
    The first, a bit of a humorous story about my father, who passed away for 7 years ago. His famous last words are Don’t donate my organs! I might need them up there!.

    The second, is about a very thought provoking book, somewhat haunting, by Kazuo Ishiguro called Never Let Me Go. Have you heard of it? If this topic interests you, I highly recommend it.


    Posted by Greener Pastures | April 18, 2008, 6:15 pm

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