Thank you so much for all your feedback and opinions on the comment posted by “Dave.” As promised, here are my opinions and the reasons behind them.
The idea of LifeSharers – the business which was promoted in this comment section here is an American organization which effectively asks people to sign up as members of a group which wants to only donate their organs to fellow LifeSharers. Their reasoning is that this way, people who are signed up on the ODR will be prioritized, which according to them is the way it should be.
It’s a very interesting theory. Basically utilizing a principle of exclusion - “if you don’t then I won’t help you” attitude rather than leading by example.
I can see the idea behind it. The desperation which those waiting for transplant feel when thinking “if you needed this transplant you’d sure as hell be more proactive about carrying a card” but the iea and the reality are extremely different and this principle is not workable in real life.
LifeSharers claims “There is a simple way to put a big dent in the organ shortage -- give organs first to people who have agreed to donate their own organs when they die... Giving organs first to organ donors will convince more people to register as organ donors.”
This doesn’t really make any sense. The only way that would happen is if the law was changed to say that you could only receive an organ if registered as a donor. Which is not the case; this instead is a small group of already pro-organ donation people who have agreed to prioritize each other, not a national movement which will cause a shift in mentality.
The group claims “It will also make the organ allocation system fairer. People who aren't willing to share the gift of life should go to the back of the waiting list as long as there is a shortage of organs.”
Again, I do see where they are coming from. That frustration and anger definitely hit me when I was waiting; knowing that people who would shun the idea of signing up giving something like squeamishness as a reason would have the same priority as me, but that was merely a desperation to survive, fear of not making it. In reality, I feel Organ Donation has to remain a freely given gift. The minute you start attaching conditions it becomes something else.
Other than any ethical issues, the system itself is simply not workable. Emma and Jac in particular have made some great observations on this on the comments section; do have a look at all comments if you can. You might find it hard to believe that some people don’t know how to register or even understand what organ donation is, but every time I do another talk, I meet people that don’t fully understand it all, even though if they sat down and thought about it and knew what to do, they’d probably be willing to donate.
Some of the comments on this very blog have exposed myths still believed within the transplant community. Just to clear those up now: anyone can sign up as a donor – it’s up to the medical team to decide whether the organs are viable. It is not helpful not to sign up because you suspect your organs would not be useable. All the major religions support organ donation. Those infected with HIV cannot be organ donors.
Organ donation is so complex, with so many issues and questions, myths and facts, that if we cannot clearly define it how can we judge people who have not had any personal experience and assume they know enough to be signed up or to miss out?
And on a more emotional level, I just don’t like the idea of it. I find it somewhat spiteful and selfish, and completely contradictory to everything that, to me, organ donation represents; giving, selflessness, bravery, generosity…a gift.
Do keep the feedback coming if you still have opinions on this one; I find it all very interesting indeed.