Organ Donation

Donating your organs can be your last charitable act. The National Transplant Act governs many aspects of the process, and each state allows for you to register your wishes in some manner.

How can I donate my organs to others when I die?

Some states allow you to register as an organ donor when you register for your driver's license. In this case, there will be some sort of symbol on your driver's license to indicate your wish to be an organ donor. You can also obtain a form from one of the national organ banks. This is called a "Uniform Organ Card." You can also indicate your wishes in your living will and/or durable power of attorney for health care.

TIP: Give a copy of these documents to your family, doctor and the person you gave your durable power of attorney to. That way there will be no question as to your intent.

Who will receive my organs?

The National Transplant Act determines who will receive your organs based on need. Your organs will go to a person who matches your blood type and tissue type.

If I donate my organs, will my family still be able to have an open casket at my funeral?

Yes. Your body is still treated with dignity by the doctors and nurses who perform anatomical gift surgeries. Any normal service will still be able to be performed with organ donation.

Does my estate have to pay for the procedure?

No. It is considered a donation and your family will not have to pay for any costs of the procedure. Laws also forbid families from receiving payment for organ donations made by deceased family members.

Can I change my mind about organ donation?

Yes. Tear up any written documents that you have signed in the past. Tell your family, physician and the person designated to act as your durable power of attorney to do the same. If you have signed the back or your driver's license, you can usually write "VOID" over your signature. In this instance, also call your state's organ donation hotline to tell them of your change of mind.