Give the Gift of Life: Register as an Organ Donor

Unfortunately, there are never enough organs to meet the needs of the sick. But you can make a difference by signing up to have your organs donated upon your death. It's quick, it's easy, and it could save a life—or even several lives.

Why should I register as an organ donor?

If you don't register as an organ donor and you become involved in an accident or suffer an injury from which you can't recover, your healthy organs will be buried with you. But if you register, your vital organs can be harvested and quickly sent to critically-ill patients around the country. Some of these people have been waiting years for a healthy organ. Your heart might go to one person, your liver to another, your kidneys to still another, and so on. You will be saving lives and ending the grief and suffering of patients and their families.

Are there particular people who should be donors?

Everyone should consider himself or herself a potential donor. You are never too old or too young, as there are infants waiting for transplants as well as senior citizens. Particularly if you are healthy, you are a good candidate for organ donation. But even if you have certain medical conditions, don't rule yourself out. The only situations in which you may be ineligible to donate organs include having active cancer, HIV, or other system-wide infection. Minority donors are in particularly short supply due to diseases that plague certain ethnic groups disproportionately.

For example, kidney disease affects African Americans, Asians, and Pacific Islanders three times as often as whites. More than a third of people waiting for a kidney transplant are African American. And while people can donate organs to others who are not of the same race or ethnicity, finding a compatible match based on blood and tissue type becomes much easier when the donors and recipients are of the same background.

How do I become an organ donor?

Most people simply check a box when renewing their driver's license that indicates that the driver would like to be an organ donor. Alternatively, you can formally enroll in your state's donor registry. Or you may also simply let your family know of your wishes so they can take the appropriate steps if the time comes.



U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources