World Organ Donation Day Date in the current year: August 13, 2024

World Organ Donation Day World Organ Donation Day is celebrated annually on August 13. It was created to raise awareness about the importance of organ donation for saving lives and to encourage people from countries with opt-in legislative systems to register as donors.

Organ donation is a process when a person allows an organ or tissue of their own to be removed and transplanted to another person. Organs and tissues that are transplanted relatively often include the heart, lungs, kidneys, liver, pancreas, intestine, cornea, and skin. One of the first successful organ transplants, which was a cornea transplant, was performed in 1905 by Austrian ophthalmologist Eduard Zirm.

Some organs and tissues may be donated by living donors, but most organ donors are dead at the time of donation. Organs that can be donated by living donors include one of the kidneys, and a part of the lung, liver, pancreas, or intestines. Living donors are able to give explicit consent, but what about dead donors? The consent process for organ donation from deceased persons varies among countries depending on local legislation.

There are two major consent systems when it comes to organ donation: “opt in” and “opt out” (presumed, or deemed consent). In countries with the opt-out system, it is presumed that an individual intends to donate their organs for transplantation after death unless they have stated their preference against it during their lifetime. In countries with the opt-in system, a potential donor must give explicit consent through organ donation registration whilst alive.

Both opt-in and opt-out policies can be hard and soft. In countries with hard consent policies, the individual’s preferences for or against donation are all that matters; their family has no say. In countries with soft consent policies families of the deceased can be approached to consent to donation (soft opt-in consent) or authorize donation (soft opt-out consent) if the wishes of their loved one regarding organ donation have never been explicitly stated.

Studies have shown that countries with opt-out consent typically have higher donor rates and save more lives than countries with opt-in consent, although it varies by country. Countries with the opt-out system tend to experience a shortage of organs available for donation and have long waiting lists. This is why it is crucial to raise awareness of the importance of organ donation and encourage people to opt in.

The origins of World Organ Donation Day are somewhat murky. The holiday is mentioned primarily in Indian sources and has been observed since at least 2016. However, there is no doubt that World Organ Donation Day is important because there is always a need for organ and tissue donors, especially in countries with the opt-in system.

The best way to get involved with World Organ Donation Day is to learn more about the importance of organ donation and register as a donor if you live in a country with opt-in consent It’s also a great idea to help combat common misconceptions about organ donation on social media using the hashtags #WorldOrganDonationDay and #OrganDonationDay.

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World Organ Donation Day, international observances, organ donation, opt-in system, opt-out system