Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Adoptees and Organ donation

As an adoptee you get used to not being able to answer medical questions at a pretty young age. No I don't know if my father had high blood pressure, I don't even know who my father is. Cancer, diabetes, migraines? Who knows... I might have a genetic link to them, I might not.

I've had the same dentist and doctor for the past 12 years. They stopped asking long ago so I almost forget about it being an issue. Till I read a friend's blog the other day. This friend had gone through all the testing to be a kidney donour. As you can imagine when they are planning to take a chunk out of one person and put it into another, they do a whole wack of tests. Not much point in going to all this trouble if chances are it's not going to work or the recipient is going to end up with some other disease that the chunk might have been carrying.

One thing that Jen discovered in her journey is that adoptees would never even be considered to be a donour. You guessed it... we have no past medical history from our families. So we could have any number of things lurking in our genes.

Well that just sucks.

Not that I had any immediate plans to start handing out spare body parts. But I hate the idea that I don't even have that choice. What if someone I loved needed a kidney? I have a spare. Would I really just have to watch that person suffer and ultimately die because I don't know my father's name? I've always thought that I would be a donor, one way or another. I give blood when I can. I'm on the registry for bone marrow, I've signed my organ donor portion of my driver's license and Hilary knows of my wishes.

This makes me wonder about after death donations. My only knowledge on this topic is what I've learned on TV. But they always seem to have to move pretty fast to ensure that all the organs are still viable, which makes sense. And other then consent forms, nobody seems to be digging into their past history, denying them because they don't have access to open adoption records. It could just be that it would bog down the story line. After all who wants to watch a 1 hour drama where 40 minutes is spent on paper work? Or maybe the need for organs is just so great that they are happy to get whatever they can and just hope for the best.

I have to say though, that if it ever came down to it, my kidney potentially saving someone's life, I would fight tooth and nail to either get the info I needed, or convince the doctor's to go ahead without that info. Because to me, the alternative is not acceptable.
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