Organ donation – is it for you or have you been wondering what it is all about?

The most important step to being a donor is to ensure your family or friends are aware of your wishes.

When you die, your family will be asked if they know your wishes.

If you have told them there is nothing else you need to do.

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Your driver licence is only an indication of what you want, which is why it is important to have a conversation with your family about your wishes now.

Make sure they know which organs and tissues you are willing to donate; only these will be retrieved following your death.

Organs and tissues that can be donated, depending on your age and medical history, are heart or heart valves, lungs, liver, kidney, pancreas, eyes and skin.

One donor can transform the lives of up to 10 recipients.

Organ transplants can be life-saving for heart, lung and liver recipients and kidney and pancreas transplants dramatically improve lives of recipients.

Tissue transplants include heart valves to save the lives of babies and young people, skin to treat people with severe burns and eye tissue to restore sight or repair eyes.

For more information ring 0800 436 667 or visit www.donor.co.nz .

If you would like to donate your body to medical science, contact the Body Bequest Programme at Auckland University 09 923 6703, or Otago University 0800 580 500.

You should also make your wish known to family and friends before your death, and ask them to contact the medical school as soon as you pass away.

Note, the medical school cannot accept your body if your family objects to the bequest.

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Candle lit by transplant recipients lie on a table during a remembrance service for organ donors at St Paul's Cathedral in Wellington. Photo / Hagen Hopkins
Candle lit by transplant recipients lie on a table during a remembrance service for organ donors at St Paul's Cathedral in Wellington. Photo / Hagen Hopkins
Candle lit by transplant recipients lie on a table during a remembrance service for organ donors at St Paul's Cathedral in Wellington. Photo / Hagen Hopkins.
Candle lit by transplant recipients lie on a table during a remembrance service for organ donors at St Paul's Cathedral in Wellington. Photo / Hagen Hopkins.

For free and confidential advice and information on this or any other matter visit the Palmerston North Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) in Hancock Community House, 77 King St.

Opening hours are Mon-Fri from 9am-4.30 pm, call 357 0647 or 0800 367 222. Qualified lawyers offer free legal advice most Thursday evenings at 7.30pm, and a JP is available on Tuesdays from noon–2.30pm.

No appointment is necessary for either of these services.