Deciding whether to donate your body to science, donate organs to people who need them or not to do anything can be tough. Choosing organ donation makes it possible for someone on a waiting list will receive a body part they need. Choosing body donation makes it possible for students to practice working on a dead body before working on a living, breathing person. There are lots of things to consider as part of this decision.
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Organs donated by one person can save as many as eight lives. Donated organs go to individuals who have been on waiting lists for months. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, a new person is added to the waiting list every 11 minutes and every day roughly 20 people die due to a shortage of organ donations.
Donating your body for scientific research or medical practice must be arranged with the agency or school your body will be donated to before you die. Although the number of body donations exceeds demand, your body may still be necessary. Your body donation could help students learn to save lives or help researchers understand how different organs function so they can find cures and improve procedures.
You can't choose both organ donation and body donation -- you have to choose one. Most religions do not take a stance against organ donation and leave the decision up to the individual. However, there are some religions, such as Shinto, that believe a dead body is impure and dangerous and that organ or body donation can have a negative impact on the recipient's body.
Organ donation can be done as an organ transplant while the donor is still living. Thus, a kidney, a part of your liver, lungs, pancreas or intestines may be donated to a person with fatal organ failure. However, there are people concerned about the scars transplants may leave on the body and who wonder whether their remaining organs are all right. Tests are performed before removing any organs or parts of organs from an individual's body and doctors are responsible for making sure the operation can be done safely and with minimal invasion for both the donor and the recipient.
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