World Organ Donation Day

13/05/2024 | B MANOGNA REDDY

World Organ Donation Day

World Organ Donation Day, observed on August 13th every year, plays a major role in creating awareness towards critical needs of transplantation and donation of organs, giving honor to those who give out their organs alongside their families, and encouraging people to register as organ donors.

August 13

World Organ Donation Day 2023 Theme:

“Step up to volunteer; need more organ donors to fill the lacunae” is the theme for World Organ Donation Day 2023. This year’s theme is about communicating with others regarding the relevance of making an organ donation. We could save more lives if additional individuals choose to become organ donors.


For the first time in history, Ronald Lee Herrick (1931–2010) who is also known as a living organ donor had successfully donated his kidney to Richard (1931–1963), his twin brother. The surgeon in charge was Joseph Murray, and the nephrologist was John Merrill, both of whom were awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1990.

There was yet another baby with anencephaly born in 2014 that lived for only one hour and forty minutes but gave its kidneys to someone suffering from renal failure. And finally, there was a Scottish lady who breathed her last at age 107 and became the oldest ever cornea donor. Similarly, the world has witnessed people donating their loved ones internal organs, and the oldest case happens to be a 95-year-old West Virginia man who donated his liver when he died.

Another story about selflessness comes from the United Kingdom where an eighty-five-year-old woman anonymously donated her kidney to somebody she did not know after learning how many individuals were on waiting lists.

Who is eligible to donate organs?

Children, adults, and the elderly can all donate organs. When they die, their medical histories are used to determine if they were suitable donors.

Myths surrounding organ donation:

  1. Organ donation is free of charge.
  2. Organ donation does not involve physical mutilation in the donor's body. The removal of organs, tissues, and eyes is an operation carried out by qualified surgeons; there is no disfigurement involved.

Why should people pledge organ donation?

We cannot avoid death, and we cannot run away from it, but one man can save another person’s life by enrolling his/her name for organ transplantation post-mortem. We all need to commit ourselves towards donating our organs as gifts – hearts, lungs, kidneys, liver, pancreas. These essential parts could be given to seven or nine patients who are suffering from other infections.

Brain donation:

Among these are divergent brains which could be used as models for comparison against control healthy specimens. However, brain banks usually obtain tissues solely from donors who had signed up directly with them prior to demise; hence organ registries do not cover this area.

Importance of World Organ Donation:

  1. Raising awareness: World organ donation day is an awareness campaign on the need for organs for transplantation and how it can save lives through giving one’s organs to others. The activity teaches people that failure to donate organs to those suffering from heart, liver or kidney failures amounts to their slow painful death.
  2. Provision of information on organ donors: This day also encourages individuals to make known their wish to donate their organs after death and talk about it with their families and friends. In this way, the day helps in increasing the number of possible donors whilst trying to bridge the supply versus demand gap when it comes to human organ transplants.
  3. Appreciating donor families and recipients: On this day, we honor selfless people who have chosen to offer their loved ones’ hearts, kidneys, or lungs, etc., just so that another person could live a little longer than he/she would have lived without receiving a transplant from them; in addition, heroism and strong will power are illustrated by such recipients having undergone successful operations as well as recovered fully with functioning vital body organs.
  4. Pushing for policy and infrastructure improvements: The day seeks to advocate for policies meant to boost organ donation and transplantation systems, raise donation rates, improve transplant services, and safeguard donor families as well as transplant receivers. Healthcare infrastructural investment, public awareness strategies, donor registers, organ replacement networks, and fair guidelines are urged that will enhance equal transplantation opportunity and ethical conduct in organ sharing.
  5. Inculcating the culture of giving: World Organ Donation Day is all about promoting a spirit of giving and selflessness in society where donating organs is seen as an honorable act full of kindness that may be life-changing for others. By encouraging education, understanding; positive attitudes towards organ donation, the day helps to build a supportive environment where people can feel confident making choices regarding the giving out or receiving of organs.

Each year on World Organ Donation Day, organ donation organizations, healthcare providers, transplant centers, advocacy organizations, and community groups worldwide organize/hold various activities, events, and campaigns. This day is about saving lives, promoting health, and creating kindness and unity among people.

Last modified on 13/05/2024


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