Now that summer is almost in full swing, this means the need for blood and organ donations are at an all-time high. In the summer, people do many more reckless things and wind up in the hospital/emergency room. Blood banks are starting to become low on supply, and millions of people are on the waiting list for organ donations. Here are some common myths about organ and blood donations that I will debunk.
1. "My religion doesn't allow donations"
Many religions including Catholicism, Islam, Judaism, Presbyterian and the Lutheran Church all support donation of any kind and they consider it a selfless and loving act.
2. "They won't try and save my life if they see I am a donor"
No way do professional doctors and nurses actually do this. Every person within the medical field tries their absolute hardest to save each and every life, even donors'.
3. "I have a medical condition"
The donation and transplant teams decide whether or not you will be able to donate- regardless of your medical history/illness. Anyone can sign up to be a donor.
4. "My family/I will have to pay for it"
There is absolutely no cost to the individual or family to donate organs or blood. If your bone marrow is needed, all travel expenses are reimbursed.
5. "People in the LGBT community can't donate"
There is not a federal law excluding a member of the LGBT community to donate blood. The health of the organs is what matters during donation, so certain processes may apply depending on a person's sexual history.
6. "They take them while I am living"
Unless you voluntarily sign up to be a blood donor or bone marrow donor, they do not take your necessary organs while you are living.
7. "I have to be related to the person that receives my donation"
Although common ancestry is used initially when looking for donors, most people only share a common ethnicity to their donor. These ethnics groups are very needed: Black or African American, American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, Hispanic or Latino, or Multiracial. It helps to have the same ethnic group to increase the diversity within the donation pool.
8. "I have a common blood type"
Even common blood types like O-positive and A-positive need donors too.
9. "I have tattoos/piercings"
Most of the time, people just getting piercings or tattoos need to wait just a month before they donate blood. This is just to ensure that there is no infection from the needles used. Also, new needles are used for each person during donations, so there is no need to worry about getting a disease from donation.
10. "I'm a vegan/vegetarian and I don't have enough iron"
As long as you eat plant-based foods high in Vitamin C and iron before donation, you should be fine! Vitamin C helps with iron absorption and iron helps regenerate the red blood cells that are taken during a donation. The person in charge of taking your blood will walk through your health and decide if you will be healthy enough to donate blood.
Donation is super important to me because my grandpa was diagnosed with Leukemia 2 years ago and needed a donation. Even with a simple donation of blood, you can save many lives. Blood only lives for 42 days, which means that there is a need for regular donors. The bone marrow registry is a voluntary registry that needs a few cheek swabs in order to match a donor with a recipient. Organ donations only occur if you are a donor on your licence and once you are pronounced dead, unless you voluntarily decided that you want to be matched for a kidney or liver transplant.
Donation of any kind is a very selfless way to use your health to benefit others. If you still feel nervous or uneducated on donation of any kind, do your research to decide if this is something that you want to participate in. Here are some links on websites for blood, organ and bone marrow donation: