YES to organ donation

A disease for which the only cure is an organ transplant can affect anyone.  Almost 400 people in Finland are waiting for an organ transplant. There is a continuous shortage of transplant organs. Every year, 5-10% of those waiting for a transplant die because a suitable organ wasn't received in time.

The so-called presumed consent is in force in Finland. According to the law, the organs and tissues of a person who is brain dead may be used for the benefit of another person if the patient has not objected to organ donation during his/her lifetime. The deceased's opinion must be ascertained. If the potential organ donor does not have an organ donor card, relatives must be asked for information about the potential donor's view concerning the matter. A relative may not prohibit organ donation on his or her own grounds.

An organ donation card is still the best way to ensure that personal wishes are carried out. It indicates the individual's volition clearly also to family and loved ones. An organ donation card can be ordered free of charge by post. The organ donation card can be filled out and saved to your smartphone by downloading a free organ donation mobile app. It can be used to send information concerning your own wishes easily to relatives and loved ones. The application can also share data on social media and encourage friends to say YES to organ donation

Kidney, liver, heart, lung, heart/lung, pancreas and small intestine transplants are performed in Finland. Transplant surgery is centralized nationally in the Helsinki University Hospital in Helsinki. Kidneys have been transplanted in Finland since 1964, livers since 1982, hearts since 1985, lungs since 1990 and heart/lungs since 1988.  The first intestine transplant was performed in 2009 and the first combined pancreas/kidney transplant in 2010.

In 2015 a record 391 transplants were performed in Finland. The previous record of 355 transplants was in 2014.  A total of almost 9000 organ transplants have been performed in Finland.  The greatest number of kidney transplants was performed in 2015: a total of 245. Fifteen of these transplant organs were from live donors. There were 77 liver transplants performed. There were 25 heart transplants, 24 lung transplants,17 pancreas transplants and 17 small intestine transplants.  Twenty-one organ transplants were performed on children.

The organisations involved in communication activities aiming for the promotion of organ donation awareness include the Finnish Kidney and Liver Association, the Organisation for Respiratory Health in Finland, the Finnish Federation of the Visually Impaired, the Finnish Diabetes Association, the Finnish Heart Association and the Finnish Heart and Lung Transplant Association - SYKE ry. The Finnish Red Cross Blood Service and Regea Cell and Tissue Center, as well as organ transplant doctors are also involved in these communication activities. The Finnish Kidney and Liver Association is responsible for communication activities. The activities are funded by RAY (Finland's Slot Machine Association).

The aim is to increase organ donations and transplants and tissue donations in Finland. The communication activities promote awareness about organ donation cards, share factual information on organ donation and transplantation and tissue donation and their significance, activate the civil dialogue on the wish to donate organs and seek to influence the improvement of the availability of organs for transplantation.