Free Essays

Age limitation in older adults in organ donation

By Frank, April 29, 2020, Subject: Literature, type: Book Review, Pages: 6


Sometimes there are myths among age limitations in organ donation. Other people think that there should be no limitation when people decide to donate their organs, while others contend that age should be a factor to consider. Over the years, organs have been effectively transplanted from individuals of eighty years and above to newborns. This means that doctors consider looking at the health of the organ rather than the age of the person. It is, therefore, important to acknowledge the facts that involve organ donation in older adults. It is because there is some bias against organ donation in older adults, and one needs to understand the main reasons that are behind it. It will help people understand the importance of recommending organ donation in both older and younger individuals. In this paper, I will thus write a position paper claiming that there should be no age limitation in older adults in organ donation since both the young and the old can effectively donate their organs and increase the survival years of the recipients. However, we should acknowledge the concerns behind organ donation especially among older people.

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Medical concerns

There should be no age limitation in older adults in organ donation. However, it depends on the organ being transplanted since when it comes to organs such as liver, lungs, eyes, and others, one should consider the age of the person as indicated by the medical practitioners. When it comes to donating a liver, it is crucial to consider the age of the donor. It is because, according to various studies analyzed by Alberto Lué (2016), it is depicted that donor age is mostly connected to a greater incidence of biliary structures. Older adults mostly suffer from complications compared to young people. In this case, when considering organ transplants, older donors should not be recommended because of the various problems associated with it. A good example is a liver transplant, and younger people are the ones recommended to donate (Alberto Lué, 2016). It is because the prevalence of various diseases of the liver increases in older people, and as a result, the ability of the liver to overcome the diseases reduce. This, therefore, means that regeneration of the liver is also impacted in older adults than in young people.

Furthermore, there are limitations to organ donation. For instance, it may fail to meet the required criteria, which may lead to serious conditions and even death. In this case, families may resist brain testing, thus leading to lower availability of the organs because the right one may not be found. Another limitation is that family members may be exhilarated to donate the organs of the members against the wish of their decedents for priority. This then decreases the number of agreed donors, which then negatively affects the sustainability of transplant. (Eyal Katvan, 2016).

Social Concerns

There are also some biases among older adults for organ donation. One of the biases is that many people suffer from particular health conditions, and they should not donate their organs (Organ donor org., 2019). That should not be the case since, with the illness, the doctors get to examine and determine whether or not the person is eligible for organ donation. There are older adults with healthy organs, and they can also donate their organs. However, there are some concerns to consider when older people are donating their organs. A. I. Sutherland (2015), claims that transplant patients who are older have fewer chances of surviving when they have received organs. He claims that it is important for people to receive organs from younger and healthy donors, unlike older people, due to the increase in death rates. Organ transplant for older patients correspondingly has issues since these people are known to have a high prevalence of infection. Since they are older, they may experience the failure of cellular constituents of the adaptive immune systems.

Psychological Concerns

There are benefits for older adults when acquiring organs. The benefit is that there is a low incidence of acute rejection when they receive the organs, unlike in younger recipients of 18 to 29 years who have a higher prevalence of acute rejection. This means that they will be safe and experience improved survival of the organ transplant. It thus means that there were lower rejection rates when one considered the use of older donors. Therefore, when older people are receiving organs, doctors should be able to identify their matching partners to ensure that their survival rates are increased (Hall et al., 2018). After the older people have received the organs, it means that their mortality rate is reduced. Their body gets to function normally, and they become healthy like before. It is because the organ that was making the body function inappropriately has been replaced, and its activities corrected (Brian L. Quick, 2015).


I believe the misconception that is behind organ donation in older adults still latent in society. It is just a reminder that the risk is also prevalent among other age organ donors. I think that there should be no age limitation when it comes to donating organs. It is because the studies conducted indicate that people should consider the health of the organs rather than the age of the person. However, it will depend on the organs being transplanted. For instance, there are medical concerns regarding liver and kidney transplants. Young people are recommended to donate the organs since the prevalence of various diseases of the liver increases in older people and as a result, the ability of the liver to overcome the diseases reduce. When it comes to lung transplant, older people can also donate the organ. The most important thing is to find a perfect match for the recipient before a transplant is being done. The older people can benefit from organ donation, for instance, a low incidence of acute rejection, unlike young people. Therefore, the bias against older people should be put aside and consider their health conditions. It is because there are older adults with healthy organs, and they can also donate their organs, and at the same time, there are sick young people who do not have the opportunity to donate their organs.


A.I. Sutherland. J. (2015). Kidney and Liver transplantation in the elderly. BJ’S Society.

Alberto Lué, E. S.-G. (2016). How important is donor age in liver transplantation. World Journal of gastroenterology, 4966-4976.

Brian L. Quick, A. E. (2015). An examination of three theoretical models to explain the organ donation attitude-registration discrepancy among mature adults. Health Communication, 265-274.

Eyal Katvan, I. D.-H (2016). Age limitation for organ transplantation: the Israeli examples. Oxford Academic, 8-10.

Hall, D. J., Jeng, E. I., Gregg, J. A., Pelaez, A., Emtiazjoo, A. M., Chandrashekaran, S., Machuca, T. N. (2018). The Impact of Donor and Recipient Age: Older Lung Transplant Recipients Do Not Require Younger Lungs. The annals of toraxic surgery, 868–876

Organ donor org. (2019, 10 01). Retrieved from Health Resources and Health Administration:

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