Would you donate part of your body?

Donating bone marrow via the DKMS - many young people are registered. Are you? Also learn about the german organ donor card.

Carolin Lensing
 min read

Donating a part of your body: some hair after a visit to the hairdresser, a bit of blood on a Tuesday morning or your own organs after death. Some of these donations are vital for patients in the medical field and necessary at any time.
Now, we asked: How informed and active are young Germans in this area? We collected a picture of their openness to donating body parts from over 800 participants, 87% of whom were between 16 and 34 years old.

Bone marrow donation
A non-profit organisation in this field is the DKMS. It enables citizens to register as stem cell donors to help blood cancer patients worldwide with a stem cell transplant. This drastically improves the chances of recovery for patients with leukaemia and other diseases of the blood-forming system.
Of the people surveyed, 38% know about the work of the DKMS. Another 30% have heard about it, but do not know the DKMS explicitly. The participants became aware of the organisation through different channels.

-         43%Online presence (advertising, website, social media)

-         35%Family / friends / acquaintances in conversation

-         17%Registration campaigns, e.g. at school / at work / street workers

-         4%own experience as a donor or person in need

Furthermore, 60% of them are already registered as donors.

The remaining 35% of the participants, who did not know the DKMS yet, were briefly informed about the organisation. Based on this knowledge, 65% said they could imagine registering as a donor with the DKMS. All in all, youg people are very motivated and open to donating.
We also asked about the reasons for not wanting to register. For the most part, the people surveyed were afraid, both for reasons of lack of knowledge and of medical interventions. In general, there is a need for more in-depth information about the organisation and process of a donation procedure. Some of the persons interviewed are already excluded due to pre-existing conditions.

The organ donor card
The organ donor card is a german document where people can state, whether (and if yes, which of) their organs may be donated in case of (accidental) death. It is known to 79% of the participants, 42% of whom have it. They became aware of it through

-         42% family / friends / acquaintances in conversation

-         29% online presence (advertising, website, social media)

-         23% campaigns (e.g. recruiting in the city centre, notices, free ID cards aredistributed (school, workplace)).

After a brief explanation of the concept of the ID card, 55% of the respondents said they could imagine filling out the ID card. As the main argument why they do not have the ID card, the majority said they did not want to donate their own body parts, partly for religious reasons, fear or aversion.  However, their motivation here is still strong.

Finally, we asked in which categories the participants had donated before. Of these, 47% had never donated anything.

-         41% blood

-         11% blood plasma; 11% hair

-         6% semen

-         3% Platelets; 3% Breast milk

Are you interested in these two concepts, would you like to get more information or perhaps register there yourself? Visit the DKMS  as well as the german website for information on the organ donor card.