Facts About Organ and Tissue Donation
Signing-up to become an organ donor is simple.
TRUE. You can register to become an organ and eye donor by having a heart put on your driver’s license at your local DMV office or by signing-up online at www.donatelifenc.org. It’s a good idea to tell your family that you’ve done so.
All major religions support donation as an unselfish act of charity.
If you’re not sure about your faith’s position, ask your religious advisor or see the Religious Beliefs page.
People of all ages can become organ donors.
Every one, from newborns to senior citizens age 85 and older, should consider themselves a potential donor. Your medical condition at the time of your death will determine which organs and tissues can be donated.
I won’t be denied proper medical treatment if I decide to become a donor.
That is the leading myth regarding donation. Until a patient is declared dead, every effort is made is to save his or her life. By law, the transplant team cannot be involved in a patient’s care until after the person is pronounced dead.
Organ and tissue donors can have open-casket funerals.
Organ and tissue recovery will not alter the body’s outward appearance, nor will it interfere with funeral arrangements.
Black and Hispanic donors are needed, especially for kidney transplants.
More than half of the people on the waiting list for kidney transplants in the United States are ethnic minorities. Medical professionals use tissue matching to place organs and that match is often closest when the recipient and donor are from the same race.
There is no cost to the donor’s family or estate for donation.
The donor family pays only for life-saving hospital care before death and for funeral expenses, just as if their loved one had not been a donor.
The waiting list is designed to be fair.
When you are on the waiting list for an organ transplant, all that matters is blood type, the severity of your illness, time spent waiting and other important medical information.
It is illegal to buy or sell organs and tissues in the United States.
There is no black market for organs in the U.S. Stories like the one about the guy who wakes up in a hotel bathtub of ice missing his kidneys are untrue and urban myths. Due to the tough regulations governing transplants in the United States and the complexity of performing transplants it is impossible for this to happen.
There are several organs and tissues that can be donated.
Life-saving organs that can be transplanted include the heart, kidney, pancreas, lungs, liver and intestines. Tissues such as heart valves, skin, bones, ligaments, veins and tendons are also needed. Cornea transplants are the most common type of transplants performed each year.