FAQs/Myths and Misconceptions


What happens when you sign up to become an Organ/Tissue Donor?
By joining the Organ/Tissue Donor Registry, you are ensuring that your wish to be an organ/tissue donor will be honored. Family consent is not required for those age 18 and older. Family consent is still required for those under age 18.

What organs and tissue are suitable for transplantation?
Organs include the heart, kidneys, pancreas, lungs, liver and intestines. Tissue includes skin, bone, corneas, tendons, heart valves, saphenous veins and soft tissue.

Can anyone be an organ/tissue donor?
People of all ages and medical histories should consider themselves potential organ/tissue donors. Your medical condition at the time of death will determine what organs and tissue may be donated.

Can I donate my body to science and be an organ/tissue donor?
Yes, there are organizations that allow for donation to science after recovery of organs and tissues for transplant to patients.

Will signing up with the donor registry affect the medical care I receive?
No. Every lifesaving effort is made to save your life before donation is considered.

Does my religion support donation?
All major religions support donation as a final, charitable act of giving to others. Religious Views

Can you have an open-casket funeral after donation?
Yes, donation does not disfigure the body, nor does it interfere with funeral arrangements.

Why should minorities be concerned about donation?
Minorities have a high need for organ transplants because several diseases of the kidneys, heart, lungs, liver and pancreas that can lead to organ failure are found more frequently in minority populations. Although organs are not matched according to race/ethnicity, and people of different races frequently match one another, all individuals waiting for an organ transplant will have a better chance of receiving one if there are large numbers of donors from their racial/ethnic background. This is because compatible blood types and tissue markers—critical qualities for donor/recipient matching—are more likely to be found among members of the same ethnicity. Minorities and Donation

Why aren't there enough organs to meet the need?
Medical technology is making it possible to treat more and more diseases and conditions through transplantation. While this is great news for these patients, their treatment is only available if there are donors to help them. The need is outpacing the number of donors.

What if I change my mind?
Consent may be withdrawn at any time by visiting the Registry form.

Myths and Misconceptions

Myth — The hospital will let me die if they know I am on the Organ/Tissue Donor Registry.
Fact — Donation only becomes an option AFTER brain death is declared. The doctors in the ER are different from the doctors who recover organs or do transplant operations.

Myth — I am too old or too sick to be a donor.
Fact — Anyone, regardless of age or medical history, can be a potential donor. The transplant team will determine at a person's time of death whether donation is possible.

Myth — My religion does not support donation.
Fact — All major Eastern and Western religions support donation. Religious Views

Myth — I don't want my family to have to pay for donation.
Fact — A donor family is never charged for the removal of organs nor do they receive compensation. All costs associated with donation are covered by the organ procurement organization (OPO).

Myth — Rich and famous people are moved to the top of the waiting list and regular people have to wait even longer.
Fact — When matching donor organs to recipients, the computerized matching system uses criteria such as the severity of illness, blood type, time spent waiting, other important medical information and geographic location. The recipients financial or celebrity status or race are not considered.