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Saving organs after death

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We are all probably aware of the organ donation card but...if one has a family member who we know that in the future may need an organ donation, can we leave our organ for them should we die?. Can the medical team take the organ and preserve it for when that day arrives,  it would then be available for the family member?

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3 minutes ago, Jason302 said:

We are all probably aware of the organ donation card but...if one has a family member who we know that in the future may need an organ donation, can we leave our organ for them should we die?. Can the medical team take the organ and preserve it for when that day arrives,  it would then be available for the family member?

I think the short answer is no. You can't freeze organs and have them still work after defrosting.

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No, not yet. Vital organs are currently only viable for a few hours after death. Bone, skin, cornea, tendon can be stored for much longer, but directed donation is usually only allowed where tissue matching is critical, and for immediate use.

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At the moment you have to opt in to donate an organ, but the law is changing next year, it’s going to be the other way round. You will automatically become a donor unless you have recorded a decision not to donate your organs.

 

So if the OP wanted to leave his organs to a family member because of a shortage this is expected to change when new law comes into operation.

 

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3 hours ago, hauxwell said:

At the moment you have to opt in to donate an organ, but the law is changing next year, it’s going to be the other way round. You will automatically become a donor unless you have recorded a decision not to donate your organs.

 

So if the OP wanted to leave his organs to a family member because of a shortage this is expected to change when new law comes into operation.

 

You're correct that organ donation will be opt-out next year, rather than the current opt-in. However, the current preservation technology for long term organ storage and recovery isn't able to allow for donation to a family member for a potential future use. If the requirement is immediate then that is possible. You can also be a living kidney donor.

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50 minutes ago, stifflersmom said:

You're correct that organ donation will be opt-out next year, rather than the current opt-in. However, the current preservation technology for long term organ storage and recovery isn't able to allow for donation to a family member for a potential future use. If the requirement is immediate then that is possible. You can also be a living kidney donor.

I think they mean that there may not be an organ shortage once the law has changed to an opt out policy. If the lack of available organs is behind the OP wanting theirs to be preserved, then once the law changes it may no longer be an issue. They aren't suggesting that once the law changes you will suddenly be able to preserve organs long term time, as as yourself and others have pointed out, that is not yet possible. 

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There was a young mother on the BBC morning news today who has had her latest baby's umbilical cord saved for any future problems that her children may have as the umbilical cord is rich with stem cells that can be used & the DNA is a perfect family match. 

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3 hours ago, Baron99 said:

There was a young mother on the BBC morning news today who has had her latest baby's umbilical cord saved for any future problems that her children may have as the umbilical cord is rich with stem cells that can be used & the DNA is a perfect family match. 

Yes, preserving stem cells from cord blood has been available for a number of years. Other rich sources of stem cells include fat tissue, and there are companies offering stem cell extraction from milk teeth. It's worth noting that this type of cell banking does in most cases rely on someone developing a proven therapy from the source stem cell material. 

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The reason that organs cannot currently be frozen and held in storage until needed is that because our bodies are made of so much water it forms ice crystals when frozen which damage the tissues and disrupts cells and we haven't evolved the kinds of biological anti-freeze that certain animal species have to cope with such freezing.

 

There are currently people working on ways of supercooling organs without freezing but we're talking about extending their useful transplant lifespan by hours or a few days at most.

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19 hours ago, Funky_Gibbon said:

The reason that organs cannot currently be frozen and held in storage until needed is that because our bodies are made of so much water it forms ice crystals when frozen which damage the tissues and disrupts cells and we haven't evolved the kinds of biological anti-freeze that certain animal species have to cope with such freezing.

 

There are currently people working on ways of supercooling organs without freezing but we're talking about extending their useful transplant lifespan by hours or a few days at most.

This isn't entirely true. There are cryoprotectants that prevent ice formation in cells (as well as, as you say, other approaches) and people have stored cells for years and used them successfully after thawing. The challenge with organs is that they contain multiple cell trypes as well as connective tisdue and blood vessels...each of which will require a different methodology for effective storage.  All the individual component parts of organ preservation are understood,  it is the combination effects that we don't  understand yet.

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On 16/05/2019 at 07:48, Jason302 said:

We are all probably aware of the organ donation card but...if one has a family member who we know that in the future may need an organ donation, can we leave our organ for them should we die?. Can the medical team take the organ and preserve it for when that day arrives,  it would then be available for the family member?

This may be a stupid question but are family members necessarily a certain biological match for donation purposes?

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Generally yes, essentially you are half your mother and half your father, so is your brother/sister.

So you share alot of genetic material.

 

It's not identical as it all gets abit jumbled up but it's close enough to transplant.

 

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