Life Donation Awareness Associate of Midwest Ontario
Organ and Tissue Donation in Ontario
Organ and tissue donation is a critical component of Ontario’s healthcare system. Not only does it help to dramatically improve the quality of life of thousands of Ontarians each year, it also saves hundreds of lives each year. In fact, donations from one individual can help dozens of others. As our population steadily ages, organ and tissue donation will become increasingly important as organ transplantation is often the only treatment for organ failure, the risk of which increases as chronic diseases take their toll in people of advancing age.
However, despite the compelling case for organ and tissue donation, and Ontarians’ almost unanimous approval of the practice, the province’s donation rates remain low.
Why? In part because many individuals who support donation have not registered their consent with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. (Note that it is important to register even if you have signed a donor card, to ensure that your wishes are known on a 24/7/365 basis.) In the event of an individual’s death, hospital staff will talk to the family about their feelings regarding donation and what their loved one would want, even if that individual has signed a donor card.
It is difficult for families who are grieving to make a decision about donating a loved one’s organs and/or tissue if they are not aware of their loved one’s wishes.
An Ongoing Concern
In Ontario, the need for organ and tissue donation consistently outweighs the availability. Currently there are over 1650 men, women and children in Ontario waiting for life-saving or life-enhancing organ transplants. Some of these individuals will die before suitable donors are found.
It is interesting to note that almost nine in 10 Ontarians (87 per cent) report they would be willing to accept an organ or tissue transplant.1 However, only 17% of Ontarians over the age of 16 had registered their consent as of March 31, 2009.
Fewer still have spoken with their families about their wishes to help ensure their wishes will be respected at the time of death. These gaps need to be bridged.
Ontario A World Leader in Transplant Milestones
Ontario is an international leader and recognized pioneer in the field of transplantation. Its strong history in transplant-related research and patient care is supported by a series of “world first” milestones.
1956 World’s first heart valve transplant Toronto
1983 World’s first successful lung transplant Toronto
1986 World’s first successful double lung transplant Toronto
1988 World’s first successful liver-bowel transplant London3
1997 World’s youngest multi-organ recipient London
1 Decima Research, Ontario Attitudes Regarding Organ Donation 2000
2. Trillium Gift of Life Network, 2003.
3. Health Canada, 2003.
Facts on Organ and Tissue Donation
- Everyone is a potential organ and tissue donor, regardless of his/her age. The oldest Canadian organ donor was over 90 years of age while the oldest tissue donor was 102 years old.
- Ultimately the ability to become an organ and tissue donor depends on several factors including the potential donor’s medical condition at the time of death.
- Recovery of organs and tissue is carried out with respect and dignity. It does not interfere with funeral practices and no one will know about your gift of life unless your family tells them.
- Organs and tissue that can be donated after death include the heart, liver, kidneys, pancreas, lungs, corneas, heart valves, bone and skin.
- Most major religions support organ and tissue donation. If your religion restricts the use of a body after death, consult your religious leader. Restrictions may not apply if the donation could save another life.
- Studies show that donating the organs and tissue of a loved one who has died can provide immediate comfort and long-lasting consolation to family members in their grieving.
- Once you decide to become a potential organ and tissue donor, the most important way to make your wishes known is by talking to your family so they can understand, support and respect your wishes in the future.
- You can register your consent in 30 seconds online at beadonor.ca.
- You can also register as an organ and tissue donor with OHIP. Visit your local OHIP office or download an Organ and Tissue Donation Form at: www.giftoflife.on.ca
- One person in Ontario dies every three days waiting for an organ transplant.
Statistics on Organ Donors and Waiting Lists
Organ Donor 10-Year History
|Year||Actual Ontario Donors||Out of Province Donors||Living Donors||Total|
Year to Date figures can be found at www.giftoflife.on.ca .
Waiting List 10-Year History
Year to Date figures can be found at www.giftoflife.on.ca .
Making Your Wishes Known
There are two steps to indicating your wishes to be an organ and tissue donor:
Talk to your loved ones about your decision so they can understand, support and respect your wishes in the future. It is important they know about your intentions, as they will be asked to give final consent to your organ/tissue donation in the event of your death.
Register as an organ and tissue donor with OHIP. You can register your intentions through OHIP’s donor registry. Information is held in a central information bank and coded into health cards. This can be done quickly and conveniently online at beadonor.ca or foms can be obtained by visiting your local ServiceOntario Health Card OHIP office or by downloading from the TGLN website, www.giftoflife.on.ca.
Click here for Frequently Asked Questions
REGISTER YOUR CONSENT TODAY
Upcoming EventsGuelph BeADonor Flag Raising
Guelph’s 6th Annual BeADonor Flag Raising April 7th Guelph City Hall Room 112 Carden Street Guelph 11:45 am – 1 pm. The event will include interactive stations where we share the most recent statistics on registered donors, people waiting for organs in Guelph; personal sharings by organ recipients, organ donors and organ donor families; also […]Click here to learn more.