How does organ donation work?

FOCUS – June 22 was National Organ Donation Day. Due to the health crisis, the number of transplants has fallen by 25%.

«Today 70,000 people live with a transplant in France», Recalls Emmanuelle Cortot-Boucher, Director General of the Biomedicine Agency. On the occasion of the national organ donation day, on June 22, she invited everyone “to talk about it with those close to them, to make their position known without any particular gravity and in a clear manner. Doing so means helping loved ones and preventing them from having to wonder about it after death.».

What the law says ?

Organ donation is strictly regulated by law. Since then, each is “presumed donor“. A principle recalled and. No action is necessary to donate an organ at his death. Doctors will consider the advisability of a sample depending on the state of health of the deceased.

To oppose it, on the other hand, it is necessary to register on the national register of refusals, or to leave a written or oral testimony to the relatives who will have to relate it to the doctors. Nevertheless, .

Who can donate an organ?

Organ donation during his lifetime represents 9% of total transplants. It mainly concerns the kidney, but also the liver lobe. The sample can only benefit a close patient, whether he or she belongs to the family circle or has “a close and stable emotional bond for at least two years with the donor“. The latter must be able to undergo the operation without risk, not be a carrier of certain communicable diseases, and have expressed his consent, revocable at any time, before a magistrate.

«We must remove the misconceptions around organ donation, explains Emmanuelle Cortot-Boucher. For example, one idea remains anchored: you cannot donate your organs beyond a certain age. It’s wrong. In 2019, a 96-year-old donated his liver. Those over 65 represent a significant portion of donors. The important thing is not the age, but the quality of the organs. Another misconception: the body would not be returned. This is wrong, after the surgery the body is returned to the family».

Why donate an organ?

Organ donation is still a public health necessity “because the transplant, in a certain number of situations, is the only outcome for lack of therapeutic alternative“. At 1is January 2021 just over 10,000 patients were registered on the national waiting list, with a significant need for kidney transplants. However, the Covid has reduced the number of transplants by 25%, from 5,900 in 2019 to 4,400 in 2020.

Three factors are the causes, notes Emmanuelle Cortot-Boucher: “The risk for recipients of being weakened by the treatment following an operation; the cancellation of a number of operations; and the infection of patients with Covid“. Despite the health crisis, urgent transplant operations “have never been interrupted», Welcomes the Director General of the Biomedicine Agency.