Govt-paid funerals is an idea being floated to encourage more Kiwis to become organ donors. Andy Tookey from GiveLife NZ (a organisation pushing for a more effective organ donor system) says donors need to be rewarded, and he believes organ donors' funerals should be paid for by the Govt: "More people would think about being an organ donor, if it would take the financial burden off their family at that traumatic time."
Health Minister Tony Ryall announced last week a $4m budget for boosting organ donations. Last year 186 people received transplants in NZ, but the minister says "many people are still waiting for organs to be donated in order to have a transplant - over 600 for kidney replacements alone." Andy Tookey says around half of families choose not to donate their loved ones' organs, so the Govt needs to focus on the other half. Around 52% of drivers have 'donor' on their licence, which is how NZers can currently agree to become a posthumous donor.
A frequently-asked question by those considering becoming a donor: can my family over-rule my wishes about organ donation? Upon your death, your family will be asked if they know of your wishes. Families say the decision is much easier when there's been previous talk, and most families do respect their loved one's wishes.
Another common question: if I agree to organ donation, (e.g.: on my driver's licence) what organs/tissues will be removed? Only the organs/tissues that your family consents to will be removed. Your family can consent to all, or be more specific. And furthermore, organs/tissues will not be removed for research purposes, unless the family consents.
If you're thinking of becoming an organ donor, visit the Organ Donation NZ website, and talk with your family so they know your wishes. Let's face it, you won't need those organs when you're gone - but you could give the gift of life to others.
Call it 'the ultimate recycling'.