Saving a life after death

According to the Health Resources and Services Administration, over 100,000 people in the U.S. are waiting for an organ donation, and many may never receive that call for their second chance at life.

It’s difficult to imagine what will happen to your body after death–let alone committing to donating your organs and tissues. Although having this plan in place allows you to possibly impact hundreds of lives and continue making a difference to others.

For some people, deciding to be an organ donor is a simple decision–one person may view this as a final act of love and generosity. Others aren’t so sure it’s something they want to do, for a number of reasons. Unfortunately, there are many myths and misconceptions about organ donation that hold some people back.

Before making a choice about becoming a donor, learn about the misconceptions and consider being an organ donor based off the facts.

MYTH: I can only sign up to donate when getting/renewing my driver’s license, learner’s permit or photo ID.

FACT: You can sign up to be an organ donor at any time—and it only takes a few seconds.
Sign up now.


MYTH: The rich and famous on the U.S. waiting list for organs get preferential treatment.

FACT: Social status, wealth and race are not considered in the selection process determining who will receive the next available organ. A complex matching algorithm system decides on the recipient based on blood and tissue typing, organ size, medical urgency, waiting time and geographic location.


MYTH: If I’m in an accident and the hospital knows that I’m designated as a donor, the doctors and staff won’t try to save my life.

FACT: Surprisingly this is the number one reason why people are fearful of signing up to be an organ donor. In reality, the hospital staff will do everything in their power to save your life.

According to the Gift of Life Donor Program, “An individual must be in a hospital, on a ventilator and pronounced brain dead in order to donate organs. Gift of Life Donor Program is not notified until life-saving efforts have failed. The transplant team is not notified by Gift of Life until permission has been given by the deceased’s family.”


MYTH: A history of medical illness will prevent me from becoming an organ donor.

FACT: A specialist is responsible for evaluating each potential donor on a case-by-case basis to ensure the safety of transplant. Very few conditions automatically disqualify you from donating organs. Regardless of former illnesses, certain organs may be healthy and a match for transplant. For example, those who have endured cancer and treatment may still be able to donate their eyes. The technology advancements in medicine continue to allow more and more people to be donors.


MYTH: Nobody can use my organs, I’m too old to donate.

FACT: There is no certain age limit for donating organs. The choice to use your organs is based on strict medical criteria, not age. Please let the experts decide at the time of death whether the organs and tissues are appropriate for transplantation.

Considering learning about becoming an organ donor? You can sign up as an organ donor at You can also sign up to be an organ donor when you renew your driver’s license. The best way to ensure that your wishes are carried out is to register with your state’s organ donation registry and include donor designation on your driver’s license or state ID.

Also, you should make your wishes known to your family and document your decision in your end-of-life documents. It’s not enough to just have an organ donor card, because you can’t be certain it will be on you at the time of your death.

If you are still uncertain and need more information about possibly registering as an organ donor, talk with your primary care physician and receive more information from Donate Life by clicking here.