What is organ donation?

Organ donation is the unconditional gift of an organ to help someone who needs a transplant. The generosity of donors and their families enables over 3,000 people in the UK every year to take on a new lease of life.

Why do I need to join the Register?

The NHS Organ Donor Register is, quite literally, a life-saver.

It is a confidential, computerised database which holds the wishes of more than 19 million people in the UK who have decided that, after their death, they want to leave a legacy of life for others. The Register is used to help healthcare professionals establish which organs a person wanted to donate.

By adding your name to the Register this will enable healthcare professionals to carry out your donation wishes in the event of your death.

Most people say that they would be willing to take an organ if they needed one, but only around 30% of us have joined the Register.

Across the UK ,10,000 people currently need a transplant. Of these, about 1,000 each year – that's three a day - will die waiting as there are not enough organs available.

In Northern Ireland, around 200 people are currently awaiting organ donations, while 15 die each year.

Please help us to save and improve mores lives by registering on the NHS Organ Donor Register (www.organdonation.nhs.uk) and informing your loved ones of your wishes if you have not done so already.

Who should I tell?

Close family and friends. At the point of donation, the person closest to you in life will be asked what they think you would have wanted, so it is important that you make sure they are aware of your wishes.

If you register as an organ donor without telling the people closest to you, it may come as a surprise at a time when they are trying to deal with their loss.

If you think you would find it difficult to raise the subject, you could try using the From The Heart campaign to start a discussion.

How do I know if I'm on there?

You can re-join the Register at www.organdonation.nhs.uk and the system will automatically identify whether you are already signed up and update any relevant details.

NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) is the organ donor organisation for the UK and is responsible for matching and allocating donated organs.

Sally Johnson, Director of Organ Donation and Transplantation at NHS Blood and Transplant said: "One organ donor can save the lives of up to nine people. Yet, three people are dying every day waiting for an organ. Organ donation transforms and saves lives and we hope this campaign will encourage everyone to join the register and tell their loved ones about their wishes."

From The Heart
200 waiting for organ donation in NI
As part of the From the Heart campaign, UTV has been looking at the issue of organ donation in Northern Ireland - where 200 people are waiting for a transplant - and hearing the stories of those whose lives have been saved and those still waiting.
Wee Oscar raises platelet awareness
Wee Oscar, the brave boy from Belfast who's battling cancer, is helping the Northern Ireland Blood Transfusion Service raise awareness about donating platelets.
UTV launches organ donation campaign
With 15 people dying in Northern Ireland each year while waiting for a transplant, UTV has launched a new campaign - From The Heart - to raise awareness of organ donation and the NHS Organ Donor Register.