Can I Be an Organ Donor?

There are few limits on who can be an organ donor. Age, health, race and ethnicity do not play a role in organ donation. No one is too old or too young to be a deceased donor and most major religions support donation.

Will registering to be a donor affect my medical treatment?

Registering to be a donor will not affect your medical treatment if you become ill or injured. Organ and/or tissue recovery takes place only after all life-saving efforts have been exhausted and death has been legally declared. A transplant team is not contacted and no organs are removed before a person is pronounced dead – this includes brain death. The first priority is always to save a life.

What if I have a health condition?

Most illnesses and health conditions do not preclude you from donating your organs or tissues upon your death. At the time of death, doctors will examine your organs and determine whether they are suitable for donation. Only few conditions would absolutely prevent a person from becoming a donor—such as active cancer or a systemic infection.

At what age can someone become a donor?

Newborns and senior citizens into their 90s have been organ donors. The health of your organs, rather than your age, is most important.

Does my religion support donation?

The act of organ donation enjoys broad support among many religions in the United States.  Some major religions have released official statements or policies about donation.

Can I be a living donor?

Most donations come from deceased donors. There are a few organs (a kidney, part of a liver, and lung) that can be donated by living donors. Living donors most frequently donate a kidney.

Who can sign up to be a donor?

Because so few people who sign up can actually become donors, the more people who register, the more lives saved. Here are guidelines about registration.

Over 18. All people age 18 and older can register to be an organ, eye, and tissue donor. You can choose what you wish to donate and you can change your status at any time.

Under 18. In many states, people younger than 18 can also register, although their families will have the final say if the occasion arises for donation before they turn 18.

Source: Health Resources and Services Administration at www.organdonor.gov