Could you be a donor?

Every year 1,000 people die waiting for a transplant. However, only 4% of people regularly give blood, and only a third of us have joined the Organ Donor Register.

We can do something to make a difference. It only takes a few minutes to join the NHS Organ Donor Register, and it doesn't take long to give blood: a small price to pay for the gift of life.

Give blood

Watch a video of people who've received organs and the relatives of donors explaining what organ donation meant to them.

Giving blood is easy. Male donors can give blood every 12 weeks. Female donors can give blood every 16 weeks. It takes no longer than an hour per session, and it can be arranged entirely at your convenience. Your blood will be used to help a variety of patients, such as a mother in the delivery room, a child with leukaemia, a burns victim or people with conditions that require regular blood transfusions.

Find out who can give blood.

Visit the National Blood Service to search for your nearest blood donor sessions.

For more information about what the process involves and who it can help, read Blood donation.

The NHS Organ Donor Register

In the UK, consent is required before organs or tissue can be donated. A person can give their consent for example by joining the NHS Organ Donor Register, by discussing their wishes with loved ones or by writing down their wishes in an advance statement. Alternatively, a person’s organs can be donated if consent is obtained after their death from an eligible person, such as a relative or longstanding friend.

Many of us have heard of donor cards. The NHS Organ Donor Register is the same in principle, but is a failsafe way of ensuring your wishes are made clear. A donor card can be lost or forgotten about, but joining the register will mean there's a permanent record of your wishes that doctors can check in the event of your death. You can remove yourself from the register at any time, and you can specify what you're willing to donate.

Living donation involves donating an organ while you are still alive. Kidneys are the organ most commonly donated by a living person.

Read more about organ donation.

Read more about tissue donation.

The reality of donation

People have many questions about donation. Perhaps you want to be a donor but you're worried about what this involves. Donation: ethics and worries provides the answers to many common questions.

Visit the National Blood Service and Organ donation websites for more about the enormous impact that donation can have on someone’s life.

Page last reviewed: 09/04/2015

Next review due: 09/04/2017

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