I'm not an organ donor. I think generally that statement would be frowned upon but I have my reasons and that's what today's blog post is all about. It's a touchy subject I know, but I think it's a conversation that needs to be had. Now I'd always assumed I wasn't legally allowed to be an organ donor, as I'm not legally allowed to donate blood, stem cells, or tissues due to my M.E. As it turns out I can donate organs if I wish, but I'm still not so sure I should be allowed to.
Nobody knows what M.E is, or how it manifests itself in the body. There's studies suggesting it's a problem at a cellular level. I'm sorry if I'm being ignorant here but doesn't that mean my organs are potentially weakened? M.E is known to affect the brain, the muscles, the central nervous system, the immune system and the endocrine system amongst others. We're just not sure how exactly it does so. It doesn't seem much of a stretch to me that it might be having an affect on my organs. If I'm not allowed to donate blood, stem cells, or tissues, I fail to understand why organs are different. Until more research is done into the cause and biological nature of M.E I don't feel comfortable donating my potentially compromised organs.
Organ donation is a hot topic at the moment where I live due to Lewis Capaldi's new single "Someone You Loved" in collaboration with Save9Lives. Save9Lives is an organ donation campaign founded by Jim Lynskey. In 2015 Jim was listed for a heart transplant and I think what he's doing is very admirable. It's definitely increased awareness and conversation around organ donation. It's what sparked this blog post idea for me. Ideally I would like to be an organ donor, but morally I'm not so sure. It's an extremely complex dilemma. I almost wish I wasn't legally allowed to donate, then it would be out of my hands and this decision wouldn't be mine to struggle over.
Organ donation gives you the chance to enhance or save lives. If I was to pass along M.E however, there's a sizeable chance I'm doing the opposite. Severe M.E patients have some of the lowest qualities of life recorded. I would never in a million years want to put that on somebody. Now I'm not saying that would definitely happen, but the truth is you can't tell me for a fact that it won't. You can't even give me reliable odds on the likelihood.
To be or not to be, is a massive question. It has serious consequences no matter which way I decide to go. Say for example my boyfriend needed a kidney, and I was a match. Am I really saying I wouldn't give it to him? My initial instinctive reaction is "Don't be daft of course I would". But it's just not that simple is it? I wish it was.
I think what makes the decision so tricky is that I know there's a shortage of donors. I'm sure there are some people that have made the conscious decision not to be a donor for their own particular reasons - like me. But I also think there will be a great deal of healthy people that haven't signed up because they haven't got round to it yet. I'm not judging, I get it. But if you're one of those people, this is your cue.
Please visit Save9Lives and register. The link is right there on that page. If I don't feel comfortable registering myself, maybe I can help in some small way by giving others the little nudge they need to sign up. This link is UK based but if you're reading from elsewhere in the world please look into donation in your country, if you feel like you're able.
I'm not 100% decided on not being a donor. But realistically I can't see myself doing it. It feels too risky, and if I'm being risky with someone else's life then I don't think I agree. Instead, I was maybe thinking I could make it clear that if something should happen to me, biomedical researchers into M.E can do with me what they will. If they can learn anything from my body about M.E then that's me helping. I just don't have to worry about potentially harming someone in the process.
How does that idea sound? Are you an organ donor yourself? Are you waiting on one? I'd love to get a varied response to this post. It seems like too big a decision to make all on my own.