Give life 101 – Organ donation!

According to Wikipedia, organ donation is “the removal of the tissues of the human body from a person who has recently died, or from a living donor, for the purpose of transplanting.”

Now that I have written about Sylvia, I started thinking about what a Byzantine process organ donation lists are and how many restrictions there are for both donors and recipients. After a little research, I saw how much misinformation exists regarding the process in the general public. I wanted to show how easy the process is to encourage you to register as an organ donor.

Currently, there are about 98,000 people waiting on the list for an organ. Unfortunately, there are generally not enough donors to meet the demand for organs. About 18 people on average die every day for lack of organs. The lack of organs is especially punitive to minority groups such as blacks and Hispanics because generally the need is greater even though these groups donate at roughly the same rate as other demographic groups.

The list is fairly democratic in nature. A potential recipient’s position on the list is determined by age, severity of medical condition and other biological characteristics. Check out the FAQs below to learn about becoming an organ donor.

Question #1: Will a hospital refuse to treat me to take my organs?

Contrary to urban legend in the United States, a hospital is not going to let you die so that they can harvest your organs. This is a little something called the Hippocratic oath as well as the law that prevents them from doing so. Donation is only proposed after death and in consultation with your family.

Question #2: Does it cost money to register? Does it hurt to register as an organ donor?

There is literally no cost to choosing to become an organ donor. Most if not all states permit you to register as a donor when receiving or renewing your driver’s license. I registered during a organ donation registry drive during college. It is as simple as checking a box and writing your contact information. It’s now even easier to register online. Quick and painless!

Question #3: So I registered as an organ donor. That’s all I have to do right?

Great! I told you that it was super easy! You do need to do one more thing – tell your family that you registered as an organ donor. In some states, their decision can nullify your registration. Other countries such as Spain use an opt-out system rather than an opt-in system. What does that mean in plain English? An opt-out system automatically registers everyone as an organ donor and requires those opposed to donation to register not be a donor; in other words, to opt out of the registry. Generally, rates of participation are higher with an opt-out system rather than an opt-in system. A legislator in Delaware recently has attempted to implement an opt-out system in the state to improve participation. Check out the links below for information about organ donation in your state.

More information: Donate Life America

Organ and Tissue Donation Initiative


2 comments so far

  1. dju316 on

    Over half of the 99,000 Americans on the national transplant waiting list will die before they get a transplant. Most of these deaths are needless. Americans bury or cremate about 20,000 transplantable organs every year. Over 6,000 of our neighbors suffer and die needlessly every year as a result.

    There is a simple way to put a big dent in the organ shortage — give organs first to people who have agreed to donate their own organs when they die.

    Giving organs first to organ donors will convince more people to register as organ donors. It will also make the organ allocation system fairer. People who aren’t willing to share the gift of life should go to the back of the waiting list as long as there is a shortage of organs.

    Anyone who wants to donate their organs to others who have agreed to donate theirs can join LifeSharers. LifeSharers is a non-profit network of organ donors who agree to offer their organs first to other organ donors when they die. Membership is free at or by calling 1-888-ORGAN88. There is no age limit, parents can enroll their minor children, and no one is excluded due to any pre-existing medical condition.

  2. […] who I have met here and well as sharing my personal challenges with my work. The second post, Give Life 101 – Organ Donation, was inspired by my desire to make something positive out of the sad situation that I […]

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