Tattoo instead of donation card: This idea can save lives – and gets under your skin

Tattoo instead of donation card: This idea can save lives – and gets under your skin

2023-06-03 18:30:48

– Thousands of people in Germany are eagerly awaiting a new organ. The day of organ donation on June 3 wants to draw attention to the problem. One association goes even further and wants to persuade more people to make a donation: with an idea that gets under your skin.

Instead of an ID card in your wallet, you can now also wear your willingness to donate organs on your skin: as a tattoo, which symbolizes consent to organ donation. “In the declaration of consent, which you have to sign before getting a tattoo in the studio anyway, there is an integrated passage that the tattoo means that you want to donate organs,” said Anna Barbara Sum from the initiators of the action of the German Press Agency in Munich. One copy remains with the tattoo artist with the date and signature, “a second one is then at home and is valid like the organ donation card itself”.

That’s the idea behind it

The idea for the organ donation tattoo called “OPT.INK” came from the “Young Heroes” association, which has been trying to educate young people in particular for 20 years. The number of organ donations in Germany recently reached a low point: last year there were 869 donors, compared to around 8,500 people on the waiting lists for an organ. “Decide” is therefore the central appeal for organ donation day this Saturday.

According to this, around 2,500 people have had the simple symbol, which can be adapted to their own style or integrated into other tattoos, so far. According to Sum, there are also people who would not have thought of getting a tattoo before.

The name “OPT.INK” is a combination of the English word “opt-in” and the English word “ink” for the ink used in tattooing. The symbol itself combines two semicircles into one and can also be read as O and D for “organ donor”. More than 300 tattoo studios throughout Germany sting the motif free of charge.

Organ donation in Germany

In Germany, the extended consent regulation currently applies to organ donation: According to this, organs may only be removed from a deceased person with the express consent of the person concerned or their relatives – in contrast to the objection regulation that applies in many Western European countries.

The “Young Heroes” association, co-founded by Sum, was formed 20 years ago from the family and friends of a terminally ill young woman. “Since then, we’ve been explaining the topic in different ways, we’ve been to schools a lot, we’ve had a big series of parties, an educational film, and we’re on social media,” Sum said. “We are trying to place the issue of organ donation where young people’s lives also take place and to confront them with the issue.”

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