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The Myths and Facts About Pediatric Organ Donation

Survey Shows Some Parents Resistant to Child Organ Donation

The 2018 C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health at the University of Michigan found that misconceptions may be hindering child organ and tissue donations. The poll of over 2,000 parents of minor children found that many myths about organ donation exist, particularly donations from and for children, keeping some parents from considering this life-saving gift.

A high number of parents polled, 52 percent, stated that they were not interested in learning more about organ donation, and only 17 percent of parents of children newborn to 14 years of age said they would be interested in learning more. Parents of children over 14 were shown to be much more likely to share information about organ donation. By not being
open to learn more, many parents are missing out on understanding the great need for organ donors, especially the need for infant and small child organs that need to meet size limitations to save a child’s life.

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Know the Facts About Organ Donation

Many detailed studies spanning 25 years of research have shown that opinions about organ donation may not always be supported by the facts. It is understandable that people become skeptical and defensive when discussing the biggest topic parents never want to think about, the loss of their child.

The studies highlight common myths. Here are the facts about what really happens:

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Discuss Deceased Donation as Part of Your Family's Healthcare

Understanding the facts about organ donations can help open family conversations about being potential donors. Parents who register as organ donors can talk to their children about why it is important to be an organ donor and gain an understanding of how their child feels. In many states, driving-age children younger than 18 can sign up as organ donors when they get a driver's license; however, in some states, if a child dies before the age of 18, the parents must make the donation decision.

Older children and adults have the potential to be a match from some organ transplants, but often very small children need to receive from other small children for organs such as a heart.

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