Blood, Tissue and Organ Donation with ME/CFS

Red heart at the human hands isolated on white

Have you asked yourself the question: can I donate blood, tissues and/or organs even though I have ME/CFS? Well, the simple answers are no, and maybe. See below:

Blood

The Australian Red Cross Blood Service, along with international equivalents do not accept blood donations from people with ME/CFS or who have had a past history of the condition. The reason given is that as the cause for the illness has not yet been established, it cannot be ruled out that it could be transmissible via blood. Read their statement here.

Tissue And Organs

Here is where the answer is more qualified. The author of this post asked Donate Life if he could be an organ donator despite having ME/CFS. Below is an excerpt of the response given:

While your medical history is considered at the time of donation, you shouldn’t assume that you are not able to become a donor if that is your decision. In some cases, people may be able to donate tissue but not their organs or only some organs. The determining factors are where and how a person dies, and the condition of their organs and tissue including consideration of the deceased’s age and medical history.

Hospital staff take a medical history from the relatives of the deceased and from the medical staff tending to the patient at the time of death. They then follow up with GPs and specialists, as appropriate, who know the patient and are familiar with their medical history.

When you have made a decision, we encourage you to register your decision on the Australian Organ Donor Register, the only national register where you can record your donation decision about organ and tissue donation for transplantation after death.

To register, simply visit www.donatelife.gov.au where you will find all registration options in one place. You can self-select the registration method that best suits you.

Alternatively, you can call 1800 777 203 to register on the phone and ask for a registration form to be posted to you.

It is important that you discuss your donation decision with your next of kin, and that you ask and know their donation decision. Families play a crucial role in the donation process because they are asked to confirm the donation decision of their loved one. The family will be involved in each step of the donation process and be asked to provide vital health information – even if you have registered your decision.

So, there you have it. You definitely cannot donate blood but you can register to be an tissue and organ donor and they will decide “on the day” whether they will actually use them. I hope that clears up some lingering questions.

 

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