With the years, we progress in medicine... But we can't fix everything. And when an organ doesn't work at all, the only solution is sometimes to replace it. But for that, we need that someone gave an organ ! So here is the list of all we can give, alive or dead (in France).

Blood donation - Bone marrow donation - Placenta blood donation - Organ donation (during life) - Reproductive cells donation - Organs donation (after death) - Corpse donation - In brief

Blood donation
Obviously, it's the most frequent donation, firstly because it's the easier one, also because it's the more useful (in the sense that we need big quantities of blood). In fact, if blood transfusions are mainly known to be made after incidents or during surgeries, they also are treatments : some sick persons regularly need transfusions.
They are many conditions to give blood, which meanest one are to be between 18 and 65 and to weigh more than 50 kg. There also are contraindications after having consumed medicines, received a teeth care, a piercing, travelled outside of EU, ... The persons who better know if someone can donate blood are doctors of EFS (Etablissement du Sang, the organism that controls samples in France). In fact, we group on the terms « blood donation » three kinds of donations : total blood, plasma and blood bars.
For the total blood, as its name indicates it, blood products are not sorted out : the blood is directly set in a pocket. The sample is generally of 470 ml. It only durates a few minutes (according to the debit side of veins). Because blood regenerates fast, the donater gets well in one day.
The plasma donation : the plasma is a component of blood which can care big burnings and some auto-immunate diseases. Then blood is sorted out : he's sampled out of an arm, goes through a centrifuge and the other components are immediately injected again in the other arm. It raises to 600 ml and durates approximativemy one hour.
The blood bars donation : blood bars are useful for coagulation. Only them are sampled for the donater. So his blood is sorted out with the same princip than plasma. The sample contains 300 ml and durates 3 hours.
When to donate ? Every time in a center of EFS, sometimes during ponctual collections (high schools, ...). The only rules are :
- for total blood, an interval of 8 weeks between two donations and 5 donations every year (3 for women)
- for plasma, an interval of 2 weeks (a donation can be made between two total blood donations) and 20 every year
- for bars, an interval of 4 weeks and 5 every year.
How to donate ? Go to a center of EFS (list here) with an identity card. For the total blood donation, no date is necessary. For plasma and bars, most of the centers ask donaters to call before because of the length of sample.
Further informations : http://www.dondusang.net

Bone marrow donation
A lot of people are afraid of this donation because they heared it's dangereous to touch marrow. This fear comes from a mistake caused by vocabulary : the bone marrow doesn't have any relationship with spinal cord or spinal column. In fact, it's a tissue producted by bones and spread in organism by the blood. So its donation doesn't represent any hazard (excepted the risks due to anaesthesia, like explained below it).
The most current disease affecting bone marrow is leukemia. The organization of donation is very different, compared to blood. Contrary to blood which has 4 groups (A, B, AB, O), the differences for bone marrow (we speak about HLA type) are much greater. For example, the probability for two persons to be compatible is almost 1/1.000.000 and we estimate than 10 % of people are not compatible with anyone else.
For that reason, the marrow bone of a donater is only sampled if it's compatible with the one of a sick person. So the donation functions like this :
- Volunteers are inscribed in the national file of donaters (Registre France Greffe de Moelle, controled by the Agence de Biomédecine). At this moment, a blood test is made to derminate the HLA type of donater.
- When a sick person needs a grafting, his type is determinated and compared to those in the file (in fact, in order to increase chances to find a compatible donater, all national files are connected). It's only if someone is compatible that a sample is made.
There are two kinds of samples. The first, so said classical, consists in taking bone marrow in the bones, generally in the bassin. The surgery is made under general anaesthesia. It durates one or two hours but it needs a two days hospitalization. The second method is the cytapherese. It seems like the plasma or bars donation : the blood is sampled and reinjected while a centrifuge takes the marrow. The differences are the duration (5 hours) and the injection, a few days before it, of a product that stimulates production af marrow. Then this method is more comfortable for the donater, but it has mostly been developped to avoid anaesthesia.
So, because of the weak rate of compatibility, a person who was inscribed in the file will give a few months later (if a compatible sick person was already declared), a lot of years later (if the sickness is later declared) or never...
The limit of age in France to give is 60 years (but the registration has to be made before 50).
When to donate ? After the registration in the file, when called.
How to donate ? Ask for a registration form in a grafting center (generally also an EFS center) or on the website of the Agence de Biomédecine. Don't forget to keep your coordinates updated in the file all your life.
Further informations : http://www.dondemoelleosseuse.fr

Placenta blood donation
Globally, placenta blood has the same use than bone marrow. It's the blood that is contained in placenta. So it can be collected during the delivery. In France, only four cities have habilited clinics : Besançon, Bordeaux, Limoges and Paris.
When to donate ? At the birth of the child.
How to donate ? Ask to a doctor (if it's possible a doctor of the clinic where the child will be born) during pregnancy.
Further informations : http://www.dondemoelleosseuse.fr

Organ donation (during life)
During life, we obviously can give only non-vital organs. Only three are concerned :
- The kidney : because we have two kidneys, it's possible to give one without any modification of life's duration. The main restriction after that is to drink less alcohol.
- The liver. It's the only human organ that can regenerate. So we can collect a little piece form the donater (who will later create again an entire liver) that will become in the addressee an other entire liver. There is no long term consequence for the donater.
- The lung. Like the kidney, we can give a part of our lungs. However it's very rare.
This donations are special and there are problems of compatibility, so we only can make it for close people. We're only concerned by these if a close person needs it.
When to donate ? When someone close needs it.
How to donate ? Doctors inform close people.
Further informations : http://www.ledonlagreffeetmoi.com/Donner-un-organe-de-son-vivant.html

Reproductive cells donation
It's possible to give spermatozoons or oocytes. They will be destinated to a couple that can't have children, for an in vitro fertilization (spermatozoons and oocytes) or an artificial insemination (spermatozoons).
The conditions are to already have a child and to be at most 37 (women) or 45 (men). Like the other donation, it's anonymous : donater won't know the identity of addressees (and reciprocally).
Concerning spermatozoons, the donater takes a date in a center when he will go several times. Concerning oocytes, the woman receives injections (products that stimulate oocytes production) during almost 10 days, then the sample happens during a surgery (hospitalization of one day).
These donations don't represent any risk on long term.
When to donate ? Between 18 and 37 or 45. The number of donations is also limited.
How to donate ? Ask for a date in an habilited center (list on cecos.org for spermatozoons and on gedo.org for oocytes).
Further informations : http://www.dondespermatozoides.fr and http://www.dondovocytes.fr

Organs donations (after death)
Contrary to the donation during life, almost every organs can be collected after death, but there are restrictions on the cause of death. A heart is rarely collected after 60 but there is no legal limit of age, except for minor persons (the agreement of parents or tutors is needed).
The sample has to be made a little time after death. That's why doctors often have to ask to the family in a difficult time. To help his family, it's very important that the donater informed them about his intention to give or not to give organs. It's the agreement of family who determinates the donation : there is an official national file for refusals, but not for volunteers. Some organisms propose donater cards but these documents have no legal value.
When organs are collected in a corpse, it's after that closed again in order to be returned to the family with dignity. In the same way, if the face has been touched, prosthesis are used. In all cases, the family pays the funeral or the incineration.
How to donate ? Inform your close parents about your choice.
Further informations : http://www.dondorganes.fr

Corpse donation
An other alternative after death is to donate his body to science. In this case, the corpse will be sent to an medicine faculty or a research institute in order to be used by students who learn anatomy. This donation isn't organised in the national level : the donater chooses the organism and personally informs it of his choice. The funeral or the incineration is in charge of the organism that received the corpse, except if the family asks for its return.
How to donate ? Contact the chosen organism.
Further informations : http://www.afif.asso.fr/francais/conseils/conseil15.html

In brief
So, to give at most (apart from your family), here is the way :
- Register in the France Greffe de Moelle file by downloading the form.
- Take sometimes an hour to go to a transfusion center (with an ID).
- Inform your close family that you want to donate organs or ask for your registration in the refusals file.