How to donate
Becoming an organ donor is easy. You can indicate that you want to be a donor in the following ways:
- Register with your state's donor registry. Most states have registries. Check the list at OrganDonor.gov.
- Designate your choice on your driver's license. Do this when you obtain or renew your license.
- Sign and carry a donor card. Cards are available from OrganDonor.gov.
- Tell your family. Make sure your family knows your wishes regarding donation.
The best way to ensure that your wishes are carried out is to register with your state's organ donation registry and include donor designation on your driver's license or state ID. You may include your wishes in your living will if you have one, but that might not be immediately available at the time of your death.
If you have designated someone to make health care decisions for you if you become unable to do so, make sure that person knows that you want to be an organ donor.
It's also very important to tell your family that you want to be a donor. Hospitals seek consent from the next of kin before removing organs, although this is not required if you're registered with your state's donor registry or have donor designation on your driver's license or state ID card.
April 26, 2016
See more In-depth
- Donate the gift of life. OrganDonor.gov. http://www.organdonor.gov. Accessed Feb. 11, 2016.
- Organ procurement and transplantation network: Uniting people and information to help save lives. Health Resources and Services Administration. http://optn.transplant.hrsa.gov. Accessed Feb. 11, 2016.
- Religious views on donation. OrganDonor.gov. http://www.organdonor.gov/about/religiousviews.html. Accessed Feb. 11, 2016.
- Organ donor FAQs. OrganDonor.gov. http://www.organdonor.gov/faqs.html. Accessed Feb. 11, 2016.
- Learn the facts. Donate Life America. http://donatelife.net/understanding-donation/learn-the-facts. Accessed Feb. 11, 2016.
- Becoming a donor. OrganDonor.gov. http://www.organdonor.gov/becomingdonor/index.html. Accessed Feb. 11, 2016.
- Partnering with your transplant team. Health Resources and Services Administration. http://optn.transplant.hrsa.gov/ContentDocuments/PartneringWithTransplantTeam_508v.pdf. Accessed Feb. 11, 2016.
- Goldberg DS, et al. Deceased organ donation consent rates among racial and ethnic minorities and older potential donors. Critical Care Medicine. 2013;41:496.
- Traino HM, et al. Attitudes and acceptance of first person authorization: A national comparison of donor and nondonor families. Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery. 2013;74:294.
- Murray L, et al. Communication and consent: Discussion and organ donation decisions for self and family. Transplantation Proceedings. 2013;45;10.
- Advance directives. National Cancer Institute. http://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/managing-care/advance-directives. Accessed Feb. 11, 2016.
- AskMayoExpert. Brain death. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2015.
- Why minority donors are needed. OrganDonor.gov. http://www.organdonor.gov/whydonate/minorities.html. Accessed Feb. 11, 2016.
- Facts and myths. American Transplant Foundation. http://www.americantransplantfoundation.org/about-transplant/facts-and-myths/. Accessed March 7, 2016.
- Rosen CB (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. March 4, 2016.