Compare and Contrast Organ Donation in the U.S. and Sweden

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Organ donation is the process of giving an organ or a part of an organ for the purpose of transplantation into another person. Many people around the world are in need of some kind of organ, tissue, stem cells, blood, eggs, and sperm. Unfortunately there aren't enough people donating to fulfill everyone’s need. Over 100,000 people in the United States are waiting for a transplant. It is much lower in Sweden with only 750 people in line for a transplant. In both countries organs that are transplanted include: Kidneys, liver, heart, lungs, pancreas, and intestines. The tissues that are transplanted are mainly corneas, heart valves, skin, and bone.

There are two main systems used for providing a supply of organs in different countries. In the United States, we have an Opt-in system which everyone who doesn't give permission is not a donor, meaning only those who have signed up will have their organs donated when they die. In Sweden they have the Opt-out system which everyone who doesn't refuse is a donor, meaning that unless you have specifically said you will not donate your organs, your organs will be donated when you die. In both the United States and Sweden, the decision about organs and tissues being suitable is made by a healthcare professional, taking into account your medical history.

In Europe, Sweden's donation rate has been one of the lowest for years. In 2005 the government founded the Swedish Council for Organ and Tissue Donation (Donationsradet), which is the Swedish agency for issues concerning donation. It provides knowledge, information, education, and support by working with the public, media, and health care personnel. In 2005 Sweden had 14,2 donors per million people. After founding the agency it rose 15,1 per million people in 2006. There goal is to reach 200 organ donors per year. This is expected to happen by 2014. According to a survey made by the Donationsradet of Sweden in 2008, after death 8 out of 10 citizens are willing to...
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