Understand Donation

More than 100,000 people are waiting for a lifesaving transplant. Transplants rely on the generosity of organ, eye and tissue donors, and there are not enough donors to meet the need.

100,000+

More than 100,000 people are waiting for lifesaving organ transplants.

8

Every 8 minutes another person is added to the national transplant waiting list.

6,000

Currently, 6,000+ people die each year while waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant.

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Organ, Eye & Tissue Donation FAQs

People of all ages and medical histories should consider themselves potential donors. Your medical condition at the time of death will determine what organs and tissues can be donated.

A national system matches available organs from the donor with people on the waiting list based on blood type, body size, how sick they are, donor distance, tissue type and time on the list. Sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or expression, race, income, celebrity and social status are never considered.

Deceased donation is the process of giving organs, corneas or tissues at the time of the donor’s death for the purpose of transplantation. Deceased donation can only occur after death has been declared by medical professionals who are not part of the donation and transplant process.

The state donor registry and National Donate Life Registry are searched securely online to determine if the patient has authorized donation. If the potential donor is not found in a registry, their next of kin or legally authorized representative is offered the opportunity to authorize the donation. Donation and transplantation professionals follow national policy to determine which organs can be transplanted and to which patients on the national transplant waiting list the organs are to be allocated. Read more about the deceased donation process.

There is no cost to the donor’s family or estate for donation. The donor family pays only for medical expenses before death and costs associated with funeral arrangements.

If you registered in the National Donate Life Registry on DonateLife.net, RegisterMe.org, or in your iPhone Health App, please go to RegisterMe.org and click “Access Your Registration” to make changes to your donor registration record. If you registered through your DMV or Driver License Partner, you should have a heart or other symbol on your license. If you need to confirm or change your state registration, please reach out to your local contact. Learn more.

Your life always comes first. Doctors work hard to save every patient’s life, but sometimes there is a complete and irreversible loss of brain function. The patient is declared clinically and legally dead. Only then is donation an option.

Living organ donation offers another choice for some transplant candidates, reducing their time on the waiting list and leading to better long term outcomes for the recipient. Living tissue donation, birth tissue, is used to promote healing and to treat burns and painful wounds. Learn more about living donation.

Organ, eye and tissue donors save lives

Register to be an organ, eye and tissue donor.

Transplants rely on the generosity of organ, eye and tissue donors, and there are not enough donors to meet the need. You can help.

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