Each day, 22 people die waiting for an organ transplant, yet many of these deaths are preventable. According to the U.S. Health and Services Administration, while 95 percent of the adult population endorses organ donation, only 54 percent of the people in our country are themselves registered donors. That’s mainly because people don’t know exactly what they’d be signing up for. Still others don’t know how to become an organ donor.

Together, we can help change that. For people whose organs are failing because of disease or injury, donated organs and tissue may offer the gift of life. Everyone who signs up to be a donor is giving recipients a second chance to live their lives to the fullest.

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How to Become an Organ Donor: Two Routes

In short, there are two ways you can give the gift of life through organ donation. First, you can become a living donor. You can donate a kidney or a portion of your liver and continue living a full, healthy life. This offers an alternative for people waiting on the transplant waiting list and increases the number of organs available, saving more lives. The living donation process begins with an assessment at an accredited transplant center to determine eligibility. Next, the matching process begins. Often, living organ donors have a beneficiary in mind when they undergo the suitability check. Others simply desire to save a person’s life, even if they don’t know the recipient personally.

The second way to give life as an organ donor is to register for deceased organ donation. This simply means that you authorize medical professionals to, at the time of your death, assess your eligibility to transplant your healthy organs or tissue to someone in need. Registering to be a deceased organ donor doesn’t guarantee you the privilege of saving someone else’s life, but it does make that possible in the right circumstances.

Becoming an organ donor couldn’t be easier. Simply add your name and information to the National Donate Life Registry by visiting UPMC.com/DonateLife. Then, if all the conditions for successful transplantation are met upon your death, you’ll have donated organs and tissue to up to 75 people.

Whether you opt for living or deceased organ donation, you are making a difference.

To give the gift of life, register to become an organ, eye, and tissue donor at UPMC.com/DonateLife, or join the conversation about living donation by following us on Facebook today.

About Transplant Services

Established in 1981, UPMC Transplant Services is one of the foremost organ transplant centers in the world. Our clinicians have performed more than 20,000 organ transplant procedures, including liver, kidney, pancreas, single and double lung, heart, and more. We are home to some of the world’s foremost transplant experts and have a long history of developing new antirejection therapies—so organ recipients can enjoy better health with fewer restrictions.