Alexi Giannoulias • Illinois Secretary of State
Register to be a Donor

A Message from Illinois Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias

As Secretary of State, I am honored to continue the mission to grow the Illinois Donor Registry, which currently stands at 7.5 million people. The mission of the Organ/Tissue Donor Program, Life Goes On, is to increase the Illinois Donor Registry so those who wait for transplants receive them.


Donate Life Month 2023 Radio spot 30 seconds: English
Radio spot 60 seconds: English

April is National Donate Life Month

Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, National Donate Life Month (NDLM) highlights the importance of life-saving organ and tissue donations to those in critical need.

Throughout April, donor organizations, transplant recipients, donor families, and those on waiting lists shine a spotlight on the life-saving and life-enhancing benefits of organ and tissue donation.

We encourage those who aren’t registered to learn more about making a life-saving gift and consider signing up.

The United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) recently reported that one million organ transplants have taken place in the U.S. The coordinated effort of those involved in the transplant process—from physicians, transplant surgeons, social workers, transplant support groups, and, of course, donors—made it possible to achieve this remarkable life-saving milestone.

Make a Splash for National Donate Life Month!

This April, Donate Life America described its 2023 art design as “inspired by the natural world of a pond coming to life in the spring. Frogs (and toads!) are a sign of healing and renewal, and water lilies represent hope. The lily pads we see on the surface of a pond are part of a much larger plant rooted below the water. The water lily plant reminds us of the support and collaboration needed for hope to bloom.”

The artwork reminds us of the “ripple effect” donation has on individuals. Organ transplantation provides the greatest benefit to the individual receiving the transplant; however, the “ripple effect” reaches far beyond just the recipient’s life. A successful transplant means family members don’t have to lose a loved one, parents don’t have to lose a child, children don’t have to lose siblings, parents, or grandparents. Countless lives are made whole again. The total number of individuals affected by a single person’s successful transplant is remarkable.

This month, we encourage you to learn more about donation and consider signing up. You can register quickly and easily from anywhere—even from your sofa! You don’t even need to leave your living room. Heroes don’t always wear capes. Heroes also make life better for others through organ/tissue donation. Help contribute to the “ripple effect” and help life go on for others by registering as a donor.

Three Types of Donation

In addition to organ/tissue donation that occurs after a person is deceased, there is also living donation, in which an individual can donate a whole or partial organ to someone in need while alive. The third type of donation is donating the body to science or whole-body donation after death. All three types of donation are described in detail below with links provided for additional information.

Disclaimer: Living and whole-body donation are NOT options on the Illinois Secretary of State’s Organ/Tissue Donor Registry. The Illinois Secretary of State’s office is simply providing information for individuals interested in the different types of donation available to them. sun logo

Organ/Tissue Donation

The mission of the Secretary of State’s Organ/Tissue Donor Program is to strengthen Illinois’ Organ/Tissue Donor Registry through outreach and registration initiatives. The office maintains the Illinois Donor Registry, the database of Illinoisans who have said ‘yes’ to donation, which now has more than 7.3 million registrants. The larger the donor pool, the greater the chance of a successful match for those waiting to receive a transplant. Organ and tissue donors save lives, restore sight and improve the quality of life for recipients across Illinois every day. In Illinois, 4,000 people wait for transplants of all kinds – kidney, liver, heart, lungs, small intestines and pancreas. These six organs can save the lives of as many as eight individuals. Donated tissues such as corneas, bones, ligaments, skin and veins can vastly improve life for others. Every 10 minutes another name is added to the national transplant waiting list, and sadly 22 people die each day when organs they need are not available. Many transplant recipients live long and healthy lives post-transplant.

Read more about FAQs/Myths and Misconceptions.

Register your donor decision at the Illinois Donor Registry (must be at least 16 years-old) and share your decision with family and friends. Ask friends if they are registered and discuss the facts about donation with them. Do not believe the many myths and misconceptions about donation. It takes just 30 seconds to save a life. sun logo

Living Donation

Living Donation is when an individual donates a whole or partial organ to another person. The most common living donation is a kidney, followed by a partial liver donation. Anyone considering becoming a living donor should discuss it with their doctor at a transplant center. For more information on living donation, contact: sun logo

Whole Body Donation

The third donation option is donating the body to science, also called whole-body or willed- body donation. In Illinois, whole-body donation is regulated by the Anatomical Gift Association (AGA), located in Chicago.

Disclaimer: Living donation and whole body donation are NOT options on the Illinois Secretary of State's Organ/Tissue Donor Registry. The Illinois Secretary of State's office is NOT recommending any of the above organizations, but simply providing information for individuals interested in the different types of donation available to them.