Giving an organ to help someone who needs a transplant

As we go about keeping pace with our work and social commitments matters such as organ donation – giving an organ to help someone who needs a transplant can get overlooked. It’s only the loss of a loved one or someone close to us being in need of organ donation that might trigger us to give some thought to the subject.

Giving an organ to help someone who needs a transplant

Funeral directors and Organ Donation

Funeral directors live and work in an environment where giving an organ to help someone who needs a transplant has a greater level of awareness than most. As an Associate Member of SAIF I’ve long been aware and supported the campaign to increase awareness and sign up to the organ donation register.

Waiting list for an organ donation

The experience of a funeral director with whom I’ve worked closely for a number of years has prompted me to write about the subject and spread the word as far as I can. Steven Barrett of RW Barrett and Son funeral directors has recently suffered the sad loss of his mother Pat at the age of 65 years, Pat was on the waiting list for an organ donation which could have made things so much different. RW Barrett and Son are a  family business, Steven’s dad Ronnie, who passed away a year ago, started the business with Pat and Steven working alongside him.

Awareness about giving of an organ to help someone who needs a transplant

Steven has always emphasised the family tradition of the business and wanted to highlight the cause for organ donation – and the need for more awareness about giving of an organ to help someone who needs a transplant. We’ve therefore added information, a graphic and an NHS Organ Donation website link from RW Barrett and Son.

What is organ donation?

Organ donation is where a person donates their organs and tissues for transplant to someone else. Anyone can register to donate their organs and tissue when they die, regardless of their age.

Becoming an organ donor only takes a few minutes to register online, but can result in prolonged health and happiness to those who are waiting for a transplant. Did you know that around 3 people die every day waiting for a suitable organ?

Whats holding you back from giving an organ to help someone who needs a transplant?


Donor card

When you register you will receive an organ donor card. If you have lost your card or need a new one you should call 0300 123 23 23.

Organ and tissue donation

Most organs are donated by deceased donors and used to help someone who needs a transplant. Some organs, like the kidney and liver, can be donated by living donors. People can also benefit from donated tissue, including corneas and bone. Find our more about the NHS Organ Donation website.

Why should you share your decision to donate organs?

If you register without telling your next of kin, it may come as a surprise to them. Letting them know what you’ve decided will make it easier for them to support your wishes.

Using your Facebook profile is a really easy way to let everyone around you know you wish to donate your organs – simply add organ donation as a Life Event.  That way your family and friends know your wishes. NHS Organ Donation have a great video about how to share joining the Organ Donation register as a “life event”

Why do we need to register for organ donation?

In December 2015 Wales became the first country in the UK to introduce an opt-out system for organ donation. The rest of the UK still has an opt-in system where a person has to register their consent to donate their organs in the event of their death.

Under an opt-out system there is ‘deemed consent’; which is a presumption in favour of consent for organ donation. Anyone who does not want to donate their organs can register their objection in advance.

Public opinion

A poll, commissioned by the BMA in early 2017, has found that two thirds of the public support their call for an opt-out system for organ donation – like that adopted in Wales in 2015 – to be extended to other parts of the UK.

The survey, which questioned 2011 members of the public, also found that while two out of three people (66%) want to donate some or all of their organs after death only a third (39%) are signed up to the organ donation register.

The BMA has long advocated a ‘soft’ opt-out system with safeguards for organ donation and continues to believe this is the best option for the UK to reduce the shortage of organs.

Find out more about the BMA view on organ donation.

How can I help?

If you’re a funeral director please get in touch with us to discuss promotion of organ donation by adding organ donation content to your website.