Your pancreas is the long organ in your abdomen that creates a vital hormone called insulin. Insulin helps your body not to become too high or low in blood sugar. Patients with diabetes are unable to produce insulin adequately.
Becoming a pancreas donor could mean providing a life-line to people who are living with advanced diabetes.
Why not register as an organ donor today? The register is a permanent record of your wish to be a donor and can be updated at any time.
Can I be a pancreas donor?
You can choose to become a pancreas donor when you join the Organ Donor Register. Pancreas transplants are not as common as kidney or liver transplants and are often conducted as a double transplant with the kidney.
Donating your pancreas when you die could lead to one of only around 200 pancreas transplants that are performed each year.
Regardless of your own health, we encourage everyone to be a pancreas donor for the following reasons:
- The health of your pancreas will be assessed before any pancreas transplant takes place
- All the major religious faiths support pancreatic donation
- There are very few health-related restrictions and most people can donate.
Why do people need a pancreas donation?
Almost all pancreatic transplants are done for people with type 1 diabetes and end-stage kidney failure. But this is not considered a normal treatment for diabetes. Most diabetes can be managed with tablets and insulin.
A transplant is only recommended for people who:
- do not respond well to insulin treatment
- have kidney disease, leading to kidney failure
- have frequent and severe hypoglycaemia (where your blood glucose levels drop to dangerously low levels causing symptoms such as dizziness and mental confusion).
Because both a pancreas and a kidney are needed for this simultaneous operation, it can mean a very long wait for a transplant.
How to become a pancreas donor
Tell your friends and family that you want to be a pancreas donor – it is very important that they understand and support your organ donation decision because your family’s support is needed for donation to go ahead. Dealing with the death of a loved one is a difficult time to make an important decision quickly.
Sign up to the Organ Donor Register online. The NHS Organ Donor Register is a secure database that records people’s decision around whether or not they want to be an organ and tissue donor when they die.
Call us on 0300 123 23 23.