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Organ Transplant (cont.)

Donor Information

Donor organs are in demand—there are currently more than 100,000 people on the national organ transplant waiting list. If you are interested in donating an organ, contact the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) at 1-888-894-6361 or go online at www.unos.org to get more information and to locate the nearest transplant center.

Many people choose to donate their organs upon their death. If you decide to be an organ donor upon your death, make sure your family, friends, and doctor know about your wishes. You may want to fill out a donor card. It's also a good idea to prepare a living will or advance directive that describes your wishes to be an organ donor. For more information, see the topic Planning to Be an Organ Donor.

People can also donate some organs (such as a kidney or portion of liver) while they are still living. These people are called "living donors." For more information, see the topic Living Organ Donation.

Although controversial, Internet donor-matching services are set up to help people who need an organ transplant to contact potential living donors. Some experts believe these services undermine the current system, which is based on donated organs going to people who are most in need and those waiting the longest for a donor. Others believe online donor matching services provide a useful resource for helping people who have had problems finding a donor within the current system. For more information about these services, talk to your doctor.

You do not have to be a blood relative (such as a sibling or parent) of a living donor to receive a donor organ. A living donor can be someone who is emotionally related to you such as a close friend or spouse, or the donor can even be a stranger.

eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise

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