..to sign my daughter up to organ donor register without discussing with her?

(32 Posts)
newfashionedmum Fri 01-Feb-13 16:14:11

She is 7 and we were given a from by GP, her dad and i thought it was a good idea to put her on it - we both are - but we haven't asked her about it and i feel slightly uncomfortable about that. On the other hand, she's quite an anxious child and I don't like the idea of having a conversation with her about it, at least for a couple of years.

What do you lot think or have you done, or how have you broached this with your children?

Crinkle77 Fri 01-Feb-13 16:18:41

At the age of 7 I think she is far too young to understand the enormity of it all. Plus you don't want to frighten her by telling her what might happen if she dies.

VacantExpression Fri 01-Feb-13 16:19:09

Mine are younger than your DD but i probably wouldn't discuss it until she would understand it fully without making her anxious. I didn't know you could sign kids up i will ask in my surgery and will definitely put mine on it x

Lovelygoldboots Fri 01-Feb-13 16:20:01

I don't think you should talk to her about it at this age. I can't imagine she will understand although signing her on to it I feel is s good thing and not something I had considered for my own children even though I have done it myself. Hard to think about.

Souper Fri 01-Feb-13 16:21:01

You don't need to put her on the register. If (god forbid) anything happened to her you are her next of kin and would be approached by the staff at the hospital if they thought her organs were suitable for donation. So you would just give your consent for organ donation then. No need to be on the register or carry a card or anything.

She is to young to discuss this with, tbh, she won't fully grasp the issues, to make an informed decision.

It might put in her mind that she could die, why take the risk.

You would still have to make that decision, if the need arose (hopefully not).

Why unnecessarily worry her.

These subjects shouldn't be discussed until around 10 and later depending on the child, unless the child is faced with an illness, then the hospitalhelps with the explanantions.

It would be cruel to even involve an anxious child with something that may never happen.

I probably wouldn't have told my DC because it is difficult to understand and hopefully, almost certainly, it will never be an issue. I can see why you might feel that you should though. It might be worth having a general conversation to see if she understands the concepts and to see whether she would volunteer to register. However, it could be that it is too much to get her head around.

The way I look at it, mine aren't on the register (nobody has ever suggested it) but if something should happen to them and donation was a possibility, it would be up to me and DH to make the decision, not them. I don't see as making that decision up front by registering is any different. Whilst they are children it is the parent's choice certainly at the age of 7.

CailinDana Fri 01-Feb-13 16:26:11

It would you be your decision anyway should that awful situation arise. I suppose in the case where you all died (sorry for the horrible thought!) they would be able to refer to the register. Just be sure you let her know at some stage - she might be upset as a teenager to know she's signed up without her permission. For the time being though I think it's fine to consider it a decision you need to take on her behalf.

Jenny70 Fri 01-Feb-13 16:26:24

Why put her on the register? Surely they would never harvest organs without your consent - so if for any reason you were uncontactable or incapacitated they wouldn't just go ahead...

I guess it shows your intent, so if you were to die/coma at the time, her next relative will know your wishes.

I wonder if her name stays on into adulthood? If so, I wouldn't register her - you can still donate if that sad circumstance happened, but not have her on a register for life that she may not realise she's on.

On balance I wouldn't register her ... and she is way too young to make this decision for herself.

firesidechat Fri 01-Feb-13 16:26:34

I do't think you really should discuss it with her. She is far too young to make any sort of informed decision on this.

Also age 7 is about the time that the concept of death and losing loved ones can be a very distressing thought. I remember my brother worrying about his family dying when he was about that age. We had tears and everything. She doesn't need to be bothered and as a minor it would be up to you to make those choices about her being an organ donor.

The time for a discussion is in a few years, but not sure when to be honest.

SomeKindOfDeliciousBiscuit Fri 01-Feb-13 16:26:45

I don't think you should put her on the register. I would have understood at 7 (not making outrageous claims here, am an Aspie who watched the news and asked questions from 4) and started making judgments about my own body - haircut, washing etc around then. Had I not been able to understand I think I would still be outraged at someone having given their permission for my internal organs to be used.

So if you can't discuss it, just leave it.

supergreenuk Fri 01-Feb-13 16:28:04

I agree. You shouldn't need to add her as you would be required to make the decision at the time anyway.

ravenAK Fri 01-Feb-13 16:33:52

Mine are all registered.

It would be my & dh's decision anyway in the event of a death, & we'd agree, so it seems sensible to make the 'paperwork' bit of the process as straightforward as it can be.

I've had the discussion with ds, who's 8, because a family acquaintance had a transplant & obviously he asked where the organs come from. I told him, & explained that he & the dds were on the register but I'd gladly remove any of them if they wanted.

Ds shrugged & said it was fine.

But I think that's different from me actually raising the subject as a decision ds had to make - that would probably have freaked him out a little.

I'd just make a decision about registering them (either way) & wait for it to come up in conversation tbh.

FriedSprout Fri 01-Feb-13 16:35:28

I wouldn't. If they would ask you in a hospital situation anyway I can't see the requirement.

Out of interest, if you had a general chat about the use of donor organs and she did not like the idea, would you not put her name on the list? Or refuse the use in a hospital situation?

Regardless, I certainly would not be telling her you have done so at her age.

OutragedFromLeeds Fri 01-Feb-13 16:40:20

I've discussed organ donation with my DC's, they were much younger, I think about 4 and 5, but it came up in conversation (I can't remember why) and it was more of an abstract conversation, rather than 'do you mind dontaing your heart if you die?'.

They were very interested in it and it was a topic we came back to a lot. They wanted to know which organs they could donate while they were still alive and which ones you needed to be dead to donate. I think they were probably too young to really understand it, so it didn't worry them. They were mostly concerned about if it would hurt when they took the organs out.

I wouldn't bring it up with her and certainly not in the context of her own death. It's up to you to decide what happens to her organs anyway whether she is on a register or not.

ethelb Fri 01-Feb-13 16:46:02

You can't sign some one up without their consent and you can't be on the register under the age of 16. Plus you would decide what would happen in that situation anyway.

PurpleFrog Fri 01-Feb-13 16:56:22

We filled out forms a couple of years ago and dd (who is 15 now) was able to do her own one. Maybe the rules are different here in Scotland?

TheYamiOfYawn Fri 01-Feb-13 17:02:01

You can be on the register at under 18 - both my children (6 and 3) are registered. I have discussed it with them, but this is because a very close family friend had a transplant, so organ donation is something that we talk about quite a lot.

Maryz Fri 01-Feb-13 17:03:14

I think there should be a register, simply to register that in theory parents would be in favour. That way, by being registered the medical staff would know to ask about donation - parents could change their minds, but I'm not sure any parent would think to offer if they were in such a terrible position. And it does seem to me that it would be a good way for medical staff to open up what must be an almost impossible discussion.

I discussed organ donation in general with all of them since they were very young, so they would have known it was a good thing - and none of them ever said they wouldn't want to donate. They have also always known that I would have wanted to donate anything usable had anything happened to me.

QueenAmidala Fri 01-Feb-13 17:05:54

I talked about it with my son (he is 8) and he wanted to go on the register, so he is. He is a pretty straightforward child though, if caught in the right sort of mood, so he asked a couple of questions and then I left it up to him.

Ethel, you can and I have. Both my DCs are on the register.

You could wait until there is a story in the news, particularly the local news, about a successful transplant, and point it out as a Very Good Thing and how you yourself are on the register ... and just see how it goes.

Nobody consents to a standard transplant - the dead can't consent. So if you would be consenting on her behalf anyway I don't get the argument that it's using organs without their consent.

If she (or anyone else) expresses a desire not to donate under any circumstances, that's a different matter. But that hasn't happened.

RevoltingPeasant Fri 01-Feb-13 17:15:52

I think you know your DD best.

I grew up in an environment of hospitals and sick children - and also saw that Monty Python sketch where they come for his liver or whatever whilst he's still alive at a young age! This discussion wouldn't have bothered me, nor my friend's 4yo who is always on about where people go when they die, etc, in a totally matter of fact way.

But if it would make DD anxious, wait until later. If you can put her on the register to save a horrible, horrible conversation in the future, in unbelievably distressing circumstances, why not?

Viviennemary Fri 01-Feb-13 17:19:09

No I wouldn't personally. And I most certainly would not discuss it with a seven year old. She will be imagining the worst and will be scared to death. But that is only my opinion. But I think if a child sees something on TV and suggests it then that is different.

lustybusty Fri 01-Feb-13 17:19:34

I believe I've been on the register from birth, found out about aged 5 or 6 when discussing a family friend (couple of years older than me) varied and many illnesses/disabilities, and signing and carrying my own card since the age of 10-11. I personally think you SHOULD put your child on-if she is too young for you to have the discussion with (I was a precocious brat...still am on occasion), she is too young to make the decision, therefore it is your decision to make. As/when you feel she is ready to make the decision, you make her aware of what you did, and allow her to choose

lustybusty Fri 01-Feb-13 17:22:52

Should possibly also point out that at the age of 10-11 I asked mum "but mum, if I'm dead, and don't need my organs any more, why do I have to give permission for them to be taken? Wouldn't it be better to have to say you DON'T want to donate, rather than saying you DO?" blush

oldebaglady Fri 01-Feb-13 17:26:16

The register doesn't do anything but tell the NOK about how the person felt about organ donation. the decision is still the NOK's. So what is the point of putting her on it? it doesn't tell you anything about her feelings if she dies, and if she dies on or not on the register you will be asked about organ donation.. unless I suppose the whole family dies and the NOK passes down to someone in the more extended family

Rocknrollnerd Fri 01-Feb-13 17:26:22

DS is on it, if god forbid all of us died in an accident I would want our next of kin to know that all our organs were available. I figure when he's old enough for it to be his decision he can get himself taken off it if he wants, until then it would be mine and DHs wishes and we would want whichever poor sod was at the hospital for the three of us to let them have whatever they could use.

newfashionedmum Fri 01-Feb-13 17:27:11

Thanks for all the feedback - I think it's important to be proactive and do it now because I imagine medical staff often avoid asking the question of parents, it being such an awful scenario if a child dies. If the child is on a register I expect it would be easier to bring up somehow.

If DD ever expressed a wish not to be on such a register I would take her off immediately, though knowing our DD I think she would see it as a brilliant idea. So I suppose in the absence of having had that discussion, we're making a decision now that we hopefully will never have to but would have to without asking her anyway IYSWIM.

And we will just need to be alert to the idea of being able to discuss it with her as soon as we think she's ready.

oldebaglady Fri 01-Feb-13 17:28:57

"I think it's important to be proactive and do it now because I imagine medical staff often avoid asking the question of parents," no they pretty much ask everyone!

Andro Fri 01-Feb-13 18:25:45

I wouldn't put a child on the register without talking to them first. I've had this discussion in some depth with 9yo DS and he was remarkably clear in his opinions, his reasons and the fact that both of those things may well change as he gets older. He started asking questions after seeing a poster about organ donation at the hospital.

FeistyLass Fri 01-Feb-13 18:36:18

I would be reluctant to sign ds up. As others have said, if the situation ever arose, then you would make the decision as next of kin.
I'd be concerned that somehow the 'I've signed you up to be an organ donor' conversation didn't come up (eg if dh and I had an accident) and then ds would be signed up as an adult without having given his consent. I think everyone assumes the decision is their's to make when they're old enough. I would have been quite angry that my parents had taken that decision away from me. It just seems unnecessary to me when you are next of kin.

Rocknrollnerd Sat 02-Feb-13 12:12:51

As others have said, if the situation ever arose, then you would make the decision as next of kin.

But not if all of you are fatally injured in the same accident. This is why I've put DS on it, because I wouldn't want my parents (or whichever poor sod was at the hospital being asked the questions) trying to second guess what we would want to happen.

Until DS is an adult me and DH would be asked to make the decision, but if we're not able to then I would want whoever had to decide for all 3 of us to at least know what we'd intended.

I know someone who died waiting for a transplant, their parents received her degree certificate at the memorial service - it was one of the most heartbreaking things I have ever seen. I would hate for another family to go through that because at a time of imense stress and grief DS grandparents/aunts thought that in the absence of anything on the donor register relating to DS his lungs would be better off inside him...

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