Very simply, all of us can do something to help. Whatever our age, and whatever our health. In fact, when it comes to donating corneas, the donor's age doesn’t matter.
For other organs, the deciding factor is the donor's physical condition rather than their age. You might be surprised that organs and tissue from people in their 70s and 80s are often transplanted successfully. In every case, there are specialist healthcare professionals who decide which organs and tissue are suitable – so don’t let your age or health stop you from registering.
In Scotland, parents and guardians are able to register their children under the age of 12 (under 18 in the rest of the UK). These children will have a marker beside their registration to indicate they have been registered in this way. This marker will be removed once the individual re-registers for themselves above the age of 12. If the marker has not been removed at the time of their death, permission would be sought from their nearest relative.
Children aged 12 and over can authorise the donation of organs after their death. If their wishes were not known, permission would be sought from their parent or the person in the closest qualifying relationship to them at the time of their death. A child is defined as being under 16 in Scotland and under 18 in the rest of the UK.
Having a medical condition does not necessarily prevent you from becoming an organ or tissue donor. The decision about whether some or all of the organs or tissue are suitable for transplant is made by a healthcare professional, taking into account your medical history. The only conditions where organ donation is ruled out completely are Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) or cancer that has spread in the last 12 months. To rule out transferrable diseases such as HIV and hepatitis, blood is taken from all potential donors. The family of the potential donor is made aware that this procedure is required.