Friday, 19 April 2013

I know when I croak they won't want my pancreas.  Will they take my corneas, heart, liver (unlikely), lungs, kidneys, etc? 

For quite a while I thought I could not be an organ donor because I need to take insulin.  For some reason I have heard many people say that Type 1 Diabetics could not be organ donors because we take insulin.  A friend of mine had a kidney transplant while we were in college and he posted an organ donation registry on Facebook.  It made me wonder if what I had heard about organ donation and Type 1 Diabetes was true.  It turns out it is not!!! 

 I called and asked the nice folks at our health department if people who take insulin could donate organs. They said yes. The organs are checked for quality (not her words) and then if you are deemed worthy they take what they want and leave the rest of you to the worms (really not her words).

I live in Canada and this info is what I was told.  I am sure other countries and regions have different rules in regards to this subject as well as many others when it comes to Type 1 Diabetes.  If this is a topic that interests/concerns you please speak to your health care provider about if you are eligible to be a donor and if you want to know how to sign up.  Some places have registries, some you sign the back of your drivers license, some the back of your government issued health card, etc.
We can donate organs, we just have to be dead.  If you have T1D you can not be a living donor.  This makes sense really, they wouldn't want to take one of our kidneys while we are living because we are more likely to have our kidneys fail at some point in the future than the general population.  Sad but true.  Also, when it comes to giving blood, they will not allow me to donate because it could cause adverse blood sugar reactions, most likely hypoglycemia.  I have heard that other Type 1 Diabetics have been allowed to donate blood.  All of these rules will be slightly different depending on where you live.  I am just passing on what I have learned.  I encourage everyone to speak to their doctor about these issues.

Info for US Citizens 

Registry for people in Ontario

Registry for people in British Columbia

Registry for people in the UK