Organ Donation Mythbuster

Organ donation saves hundreds of lives a year in Scotland. But more people need to be on the Organ Donation Register to help those waiting for transplants.

What is the NHS Organ Donor Register?

The Organ Donor Register is a database that keeps the details of people who wish to donate their organs and tissue after their death (and what they wish to donate), or whether they would prefer not to donate any organs at all. 

Why are more donors needed?

Every year hundreds of people die while waiting for an organ transplant because there is a shortage of organ donors.

One person joining the register won't make much difference...

One organ donor can save up to seven lives and allow two people to see again. So just one person signing up can make a massive difference to many lives. 

At what age can you join the NHS Organ Donor Register?

In Scotland young people aged 12 and above can register on the NHS Organ Donor Register and a parent or guardian doesn’t have the legal right to overrule their wishes. Parents and guardians can also register young people under 12. 

I can't donate blood - can I be an organ donor?

The criteria for donating blood are different to organ donation. Everyone can join the NHS Organ Donor Register.

Can I change my mind?

Of course! It is absolutely up to you what happens to your organs and tissue when you die. If you've previously registered as an organ donor but want to change what you would like to donate, or would no longer like to donate, you can do so at the Organ Donation Scotland Update site.

I've heard about the 'opt-out' system - what is it?

The opt-out system is one where it is automatically assumed that people are okay with donating their organs and tissue when they die, unless they specifically request they don't want to. The opt-out system will be coming into place in Scotland in Autumn 2020 - until then you will still have to register and say that you want to be a donor.

Who will automatically be made an organ donor in Autumn 2020 then?

Everyone who lives in Scotland apart from:

  • Children under the age of 16
  • Adults who lack the capacity to understand the new law (for example those with dementia)
  • Those who have lived in Scotland for less than 12 months when their death happens

Their organs will only be donated if they, or someone on their behalf, explicitly says that they would like do so. 

Visit Organ Donation Scotland's website to find out more and sign up to the Organ Donation Register.


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