Published: 05/04/2018 09:00 - Updated: 05/04/2018 12:37

Organ donor register changes lives

Organ Donation, Scottish Government Viewpoint, Scottish Government
Gordon Hutchison had a heart transplant aged 13.


Scottish Government Viewpoint

DID you know that there are currently 558 people in Scotland waiting for an organ transplant that will significantly improve their quality of life or that one organ donor can change the lives of up to seven people?

Being able to donate organs to help people who desperately need transplants is one of the great advances of modern medicine.

While almost 2.5 million people (46 per cent of the population) have joined the organ donor register, this doesn't mean everyone who is on it becomes an organ donor.

Only one per cent of all deaths in Scotland happen in circumstances where the person is able to donate their organs and tissue.

This is why it is so important that as many of the one per cent go on to become organ and/or tissue donors.

Organ donation happens at a very emotional time. A family has just lost someone.

Things are made easier in this difficult time when someone has made their decision known by joining the register and telling their family.

Your family are twice as likely to say yes to donating your organs and tissue if they know it's what you would have wanted.

So, if you are one of the nine out of 10 people who agrees with organ donation, it is important that you take two simple steps:

• Register your decision to be an organ donor at or call 0300 123 2323.

• Share your decision with your family.

You can have your organ donation wishes recorded on the register irrespective of your age, sexuality, body shape, religion or health.

In Scotland, we are heading towards an opt-out system for organ and tissue donation.

But is likely to be several years before that comes into force.

Even then, the simplest way people can indicate their desire to become a donor is by joining the register, so it's really important that people join now.

One donor can help up to seven different people.

Thanks to the latest medical advances, the following major organs can be transplanted kidneys, heart, liver, lungs, pancreas and the small bowel.

In some cases, part of the organ such as heart valves or cells from the donated organs, such as the liver or the pancreas, are transplanted.

Just as importantly, some donors may also be able to donate tissue.

If you support organ and tissue donation and have not joined the register, please join today at

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