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How to give blood or register as an organ donor

Giving blood or registering as an organ donor is simple to do and could save lives.  The blood you give is a lifeline in an emergency and for people who need long-term treatments.  Organ donation means taking healthy organs and tissues from one person for transplantation into another. It doesn’t matter how old you are; the oldest organ donor was 103 years old!

You can be of any racial or ethnic background and all major religions in the UK support organ donation.

Giving Blood

By donating blood, you are contributing to saving or improving someone’s life. Giving blood is a quick and easy process that should not take more than an hour. This is what you can expect to happen:

  • When you arrive at the session, you will be asked to read some information and complete a donor health check form. If you are a new donor, you will also have a discussion with a nurse. Remember to have something to eat and drink before you give blood.
  • A tiny drop of blood will be taken from your fingertip. This is to check your haemoglobin levels and to ensure that giving blood won’t make you anaemic.
  • Your blood will then be taken. It’s usually just under a pint and your body will quickly replace it.
  • Once your blood has been taken, you will have a short rest before going to the refreshment area for a drink and biscuits.

Contact NHS Blood and Transplant to locate your nearest blood donor session.

Organ Donation

The NHS Organ Donor Register is a national, confidential list of people who are willing to become donors after their death. You can join the register using the internet; by telephone; when you apply for a driving licence or a passport; or when you register with a new GP.

If you have registered to be an organ donor, your relatives do not have the legal right to override that decision. However, they will be asked if it was still your wish to be a donor and will still be involved in the process. It is, therefore, really important that you discuss your wishes with them when you decide to join the register.

To donate your organs you have to die in hospital. If you would like to register on the NHS Organ Donor Register:

Can older people be donors?

Yes, in the case of cornea and some other tissue, age does not matter. For other organs it is your physical condition, not age, which is the deciding factor. Specialist healthcare professionals decide in each case which organs and tissues are suitable.

Last updated: February 12, 2018

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