I've been asking my friends if they are donors, most say they are, but when I ask if they have discussed it with their family members nearly all of them say they haven't. This I found extremely odd, as I've always known of my family's wishes and I would go out of my way to make sure that these wishes were undertaken.
I know discussing death can be a difficult topic, but it is important to tell your next-of-kin of your wishes. Just because you have "donor" on your licence, doesn't mean the doctors will use your organs upon your untimely death. They will always ask the family and ultimately your wishes will be ignored if the family have a problem with organ donation.
By talking to your next-of-kin, you will give them the knowledge they need to make sure your values are upheld at a time when you most probably can't communicate and at a time of extreme stress for your family. Knowing what you wanted will reduce this stress and people will usually honour a person by carrying out their wishes.
Most people I know don't donate blood. This is not because they don't want to, but because they lived in the UK during the mad-cow scare and the blood donation services have decided they won't take our blood. There are of course many other reasons why people can't donate blood and so arises a shortage, but of course you all know this by now, they don't advertise for donors for the fun of it. There are a couple of reasons for non-donation that can easily be avoided by following the "harden up" rule to life:
* needle phobia - if it hurts at all, it is only for a few seconds.
* fainting - relates to the above - apply the "harden up" rule and anyway you are lying down so there's nowhere to fall.
As I'm often in the Hematology department I watch bag after bag of blood being hooked up to grateful patients every hour of the day - the blood banks are often running short. If you're not donating then just think how hypocritical you'll feel when you land up in hospital with a bag of blood attached to your arm.
Same goes for non-organ donors - they cringe at the thought of giving their organs, but if they suddenly needed an organ themselves, they'd be fighting to get to the front of the queue.