Register as an Organ and Tissue Donor to Help Others
Registering as a donor is a simple step that can help countless others. One organ donor can save up to nine lives – making a difference for the 100,000-plus Americans who are on the national transplant waiting list.
A tissue donor can help more than 150 people. One in 20 Americans will need a tissue transplant in his or her lifetime. Often this helps people who suffer from chronic and debilitating conditions. In some cases, donated tissue can save a life.
Other options include donating corneas to restore sight for two people, or donating for research to support medical breakthroughs that end up helping thousands.
Register as a donor using an easy online process:
Don’t forget to talk to your family and friends about donation. Be ready to answer questions and share viewpoints. Talk about all the good that comes from donation, and why it’s important to you. Our Having the Talk resource offers more tips on how to approach this important conversation. You can learn more about all the good that comes from donation in our Stories of Hope.
Read on for facts about organ and tissue donation.
Anyone can be a donor
There is no age limit for donation. The oldest organ donor in U.S. history was 95. The oldest cornea donor was 102.
You can also be considered for donation no matter what your health status. HIV-positive men and women can donate organs to recipients with HIV, for example.
Donating for research is another possibility. These gifts can help scientists develop valuable insight into disease progression and drug development to help countless others.
Don’t rule yourself out. Anyone can be a donor.
Registering as a donor does not affect medical care
Registering as a donor does not affect medical treatment. Doctors and hospital staff will always focus on providing lifesaving care. You are their top priority.
Only 1-2% of all people will be able to donate organs when they die. One way this can happen is with a devastating and irreversible brain injury that meets the medical criteria for death. In that case, a separate team, which does not work for the hospital, would come in to facilitate the donation process. The first step would be to assess whether or not you are registered as a donor, and to talk to your family.
There is never any cost to donate
Costs related to donation are never passed on to your family.
Donation does not limit funeral plans
Donors are treated with the utmost respect through the entire process. An open-casket funeral is still an option following donation.
Strict guidelines ensure the donation process is fair for everyone
Movies and shows can spread inaccurate information about donation. In reality, there are strict standards that guide the process – and the transplant community is working hard to keep improving those guidelines. A national system matches organs with people on the waiting list based on blood type, body size, how sick they are, geographic distance, tissue type, and time on the list. The top priority is to save lives. Sexual orientation, gender, race, income, celebrity, and social status are never considered.