How To Become an Organ Donor

You can save lives by becoming an organ and tissue donor. More than 123,000 people in the United States are waiting for an organ transplant.

A live donation is the ultimate gift. There is an overwhelming satisfaction of giving life to another human being who would otherwise have a very poor quality of life or even die while waiting for a transplant. In 2014, over 5,000 kidney and liver transplants were made possible by living donors.

For more information on becoming a living kidney or liver donor, please call
866-925-3897 or 203-727-1110.

Don't delay your decision to be an organ donor because of a belief you've never fully explored. Here are answers to some common organ transplant myths and concerns:

Deceased Donor Information

fact: When you go to the hospital for treatment, doctors focus on saving your life - not somebody else's. Becoming an organ donor does not affect the quality of the person's medical care. Organ surgery takes place only after all efforts to save the person's life have been exhausted and a patient has been legally declared dead.
fact: Donation is a surgical procedure. The body's natural appearance is maintained. As in any other medical procedure, the body is treated with great respect and dignity.
fact: There are no costs whatsoever to a person's family for him/her to be an organ donor.
fact: All major religions approve of organ and tissue donation, and consider it a gift and an act of charity.
fact: Your loved one will not feel pain. Even after death, every effort is made to ensure that your loved one's body is treated with the same degree of respect as is given a living patient.
fact: There's no defined cutoff age for donating organs. Organs have been successfully transplanted from donors in their 70s and 80s. The decision to use your organs is based on strict medical criteria, not age. Don't disqualify yourself prematurely. Let the doctors decide at your time of death whether your organs and tissues are suitable for transplantation.
fact: Very few medical conditions automatically disqualify you from donating organs. The decision to use an organ is based on strict medical criteria. It may turn out that certain organs are not suitable for transplantation, but other organs and tissues may be fine. Don't disqualify yourself prematurely. Only medical professionals at the time of your death can determine whether your organs are suitable for transplantation.

The Most Common Donor Myths

fact: Thousands of Americans currently are waiting for organ transplants. At this time, the need for organs is far greater than their availability. Each year, thousands of adults and children die waiting for organs that never become available.
fact: A national system is in place to ensure the fair distribution of organs in the United States. Recipients are chosen based on many factors, including their immediate need, blood type, and medical matching. The buying and selling of organs is against the law.
fact: The national organ transplant waiting list is colorblind. Among all of the medical data listed on the transplant list for each person waiting, no race information is specified. When a donor organ becomes available, those allocating the organ don't know the race of those waiting for it. Allocation is made according to medical data, the severity of the illness and time spent on the waiting list.
fact: The rich and famous aren't given priority when it comes to allocating organs. It may seem that way because of the amount of publicity generated when celebrities receive a transplant, but they are treated no differently than anyone else. In fact, the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), the organization responsible for maintaining the national organ transplant network, subjects all celebrity transplants to an internal audit to make sure the organ allocation was appropriate. Remember, too, that it would be unfair to deny someone a transplant simply because he or she is a celebrity.

Register to be an Organ Donor

  1. Visit Donate Life New England to register online if you are a resident of a New England state; or visit Donate Life America to find out about organ donation procedures in your state.
  2. Express your wish to become a donor when you receive or renew your driver's license at the DMV.

Please remember to share your decision with your family so they understand your wish to be an organ donor.

Become a Volunteer

For more information on how you can help raise organ donation awareness, please contact Yale-New Haven Transplantation Center at 203-785-2565 or Donate Life Connecticut at 203-387-1549.