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Organ Donation and Living Donation: Registration 101

Many of us make the decision to register as an organ donor when we get a driver’s license. But did you know that you also can become a living organ donor?

What’s the difference between registering to become an organ donor and registering to be a living donor?

Find out how to register to become an organ donor and get more information on organ donation

Organ Donation: Making the Decision

Deceased organ donation is the process of donating an organ, or part of an organ, at the time of the donor’s death.

The cause of death determines if someone can be an organ donor and which organs can be donated. Organ removal is only possible after:

  • All efforts to save the patient’s life have been exhausted
  • Tests have been performed to ensure the absence of brain or brainstem activity
  • The patient has been declared brain dead

There is no age limit to becoming an organ donor, and everyone is eligible regardless of race, health, and ethnicity. Almost all major religions support organ donation.

RELATED: Bringing up Donation: How to Talk to People About Becoming an Organ Donor

Registering to Become an Organ Donor

Registering to become an organ donor is easy; however, this simple, yet generous, act can save lives and help more than 75 people.

You can register to become an organ donor when you apply for or renew your driver’s license or by visiting the organ donor registry for your state. The “organ donor” designation will either be printed on your driver’s license or you will receive a confirmation card until your license is ready to be renewed.

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Living-Organ Donation: Helping Save the Lives of Those on the Transplant List

Living donation is a type of organ donation that helps save the lives of those on the liver or kidney transplant waiting list.

In addition to offering an alternative to the transplant waiting list, living donor transplants save two lives – the recipient and the person next in line on the organ waiting list.

During a living donor transplant, a healthy donor can give a portion of their liver or one of their kidneys to a patient on the transplant waiting list.

Healthy living donors must:

  • Be between the ages of 18 and 55 for living-liver donation, and between the ages of 18 and 69 for living-kidney donation
  • Be in general good health
  • Have an unselfish desire to contribute to another person’s life in a healthy and meaningful way

Registering to Become a Living Donor

To become a living donor, first complete the living donor registration. This helps determine if a potential donor meets the initial qualifications to become a living donor.

From there, a potential living donor undergoes an extensive transplant evaluation to make sure he or she is a good candidate for living donor surgery and that donating poses the least possible risk to both the donor and the recipient.

Why Is Organ Donation so Important?

With 116,000 men, women, and children waiting for lifesaving organ transplants, the largest football stadium in the United States can’t hold all the people on the national transplant waiting list. By registering as an organ donor or a living donor, you offer hope and a second chance to these individuals.