I’ve just registered as a potential organ donor on an NHS website. I’ve never minded in principle being a donor if I’m unfortunate enough to find myself in the position where I’m no longer using my organs, although by and large I’d rather hold onto both of everything I was born with two of…
I’ve just assumed for the last umpty-ump years when I have been sexually active as a gay man that I wasn’t allowed to. Since I’m not allowed to donate blood, I was working on the assumption that they wouldn’t want me to donate anything more serious either – including sperm, bone marrow and organs.
However, since I am a medical drama TV junkie almost as much as I am a crime drama TV junkie and a legal drama TV junkie – I’m currently watching E.R. from the George Clooney years onwards – I have actually seen rather a lot of organ transplants. I have seen nervous doctors talking to upset relatives, I’ve seen gung-ho surgeon trainees desperate to have a go at a full heart/lung transplant, I’ve seen scrubs-clad doctors getting into helicopters to fetch organs in little cool-boxes, and so on and so on.
Yesterday we got a mailshot saying – become a donor – and it had a phone number on it, so I phoned up in an idle moment and got through to a bright cheery operator almost immediately and put the blunt question “can gays be organ donors?” She was a bit taken aback, or didn’t hear me, and made me ask twice, but as soon as she was clear what I was asking she replied immediately that it was fine. Different rules apply. Gay people can be organ donors. Which is nice. I’ve filled in the forms online, and now I’m getting ready to do the slightly trickier bit and have the conversation with my nearest and dearest so that they know my wishes.
If you haven’t already, and you’re not strongly anti, sign up now!
PS who do I phone re sperm and bone marrow?