In the last few months, every house in Scotland has had information sent to tell us that the law on organ and tissue donation in Scotland is changing. It means that you will be considered to have agreed to be a donor when you die unless you have chosen to opt out.
In Scotland, with around 500 people each year waiting on a transplant and not enough donors to help, all of us can do something to help, whatever our age, and whatever our health.
Donation remains a personal decision though and Organ Donation Scotland encourages discussion with your family so everyone’s preference is fully understood. This is not something that should be put in a will, by then it’s too late!
Reaching your decision might raise questions around your faith, so with that in mind we have asked a doctor who is involved in transplant operations and who is a Christian. This is what he had to say from his perspective:
It is a general principle of Christianity that people should be willing to give for the benefit of others; therefore, most Christians will no doubt be in favour of this change in the law. However, it is often forgotten that in most cases for someone to be the recipient of an organ transplant, sadly a person has died to make it happen. Whilst many will be rejoicing in a life of a loved one being saved or at least transformed by the successful transplantation, at the very same time others will be devastated and grieving the loss of a loved one who has died most often suddenly.
The message of the Bible has some similarities: it was necessary that the Lord Jesus came from heaven to earth and became human so that men and women could be saved and receive the gift of God which is eternal life. The Bible says: “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
Potentially eight lives can be saved or improved when one person dies and donates their organs. The impact for good is so great that the government would like us to make our decision known regarding whether we want to be a donor after our life comes to an end. Yet, the benefit to humanity from the death of Jesus Christ is immeasurably greater still. It is amazing to consider that His sacrifice has limitless potential: all can be saved and enjoy everlasting life through believing in Him.
Healthcare workers must ensure that before an organ is transplanted into a person that its function is not affected significantly by disease from a chronic health problem that the donor had before they died. Otherwise, there would be a considerable risk to the individual who received the transplanted organ: they may become ill and the outcome of the operation be a failure.
Uniquely the Christian message states that Jesus Christ being God, is the only person ever who has not been affected by a condition that has afflicted every other human in history – sin. This is the reason only Jesus Christ can be, and indeed is, the “Saviour of the world” (1 John 4:14) as well as being why those who trust in Him are convinced that His death can bring life to others.
It is a wonderful experience for anyone to know that because of faith in Jesus Christ the statement of the Bible is true for them personally that “the Son of God loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).”
For more information on donation and the law change visit: www.organdonationscotland.org
Record your donation decision on the NHS Organ Donor Register Online: www.organdonationscotland.org/your-decision/how-register