One organ donor can save up to eight people through organ donation and can heal another 75 people through tissue donation.
- kidney (x2)
- lungs (x2)
- heart valves
Myths and misperceptions about organ and tissue donation can prevent someone from signing up as a donor. You can help save and heal lives by sharing these facts and making your wishes known.
The doctors won’t try to save my life if they see that I’m an organ donor.
Your life is always first.
If you are taken to a hospital after an injury or medical crisis, it is the doctor or an EMT’s utmost priority to save your life. They are not involved in the organ and tissue donation or transplantation process and do not know your donor status. Your status as a donor is not even considered until every effort has been made to save your life.
Donation can occur either after brain death is declared or after circulatory death. After brain death, machines keep one’s heart and other major organs functioning; there is no brain activity nor a chance for brain activity to return. Brain death is death. For donation after circulatory death, the patient is facing imminent death; there is no hope for a meaningful recovery and the withdrawal of life support has been elected.
Wealthy people are able to “skip the wait list” and get organ transplants faster.
Everyone is equal.
When it comes to waiting for an organ transplant, the system in place treats us as equals. Rich or famous individuals cannot and do not get priority on the national transplant wait list. Factors such as blood type, body size, location, severity of illness, and length of time on the wait list are used to determine the best candidate for an organ. Purchasing and/or selling organs in the United States is illegal.
My religion doesn’t support donation.
I won’t be able to have an open casket funeral if I am an organ donor.
Your body is treated with the utmost respect.
The medical professionals who perform the recovery surgeries treat donor patients with the utmost respect, just like they would for any other patient. Open casket funerals are still possible after organ and tissue donation.
People in the LGBT community cannot donate.
There is no policy or federal regulation that excludes a specific person or community from donating organs.
Your sexual preference does not affect whether or not you can be a donor. What matters is the health of the organs.
I’m too old to register as an organ donor.
Anyone can register to be an organ and tissue donor.
Your age or health should not prevent you from registering to be an organ and tissue donor. Most health conditions do not prevent donation and age is not a factor. Let the medical professionals decide what can be recovered and used to save or help someone else.
My decision to be a donor should be kept private.
Make your decision known. Share that you are a registered organ donor.
When you register to become an organ and tissue donor you are making a legal decision that can save lives. Your decision is an advance directive. It is important to talk with your family and loved ones about your decision to be an organ and tissue donor so that they are prepared to honor your decision should you be in an eligible position to give the gift of life.
If I’m eligible to be a donor but am not registered, I cannot donate.
Your family will be asked to make a decision on whether or not you will be a donor.
If you haven’t registered to be an organ and tissue donor, your family will be asked to make a decision on your behalf during a very difficult time. Talking with your family and friends about donation makes them aware of your wishes and can make their decision easier.
I don’t want to be a donor because of the medical expenses my family will have to pay.
There is no cost to your family.
If you are eligible to be an organ and tissue donor, your family will not have to pay for any medical expenses associated with the donation.
I can only register as an organ donor at the DMV.