Organ Donation FAQs

Want to leave behind a legacy? One of the easiest ways to dramatically change someone’s life is through organ donation. As of January 2019, there are over 113,000 people in need of organs – and the number grows every ten minutes.

Choosing to donate your organs while you are alive is an important decision. Making the decision while you’re still here can help your family in the unfortunate event that you die unexpectedly. Here are answers to the most common questions people have about the donation process.

Who can be a donor?

  • All adults within the United States are eligible to register as an organ donor. In some states, individuals under the age of 18 are allowed to sign up as donors and there’s no age limit – young or old – on who can be a donor.
  • A parent or guardian must provide authorization to donate the organs of an individual who has passed away under the age of 18.
  • If you have a medical condition, you are still encouraged to register as an organ donor. There are only a few infections that can impact the viability of organ, eye and tissue donations – including HIV, cancer or systemic infection.

How do I register? 

Registering to become an organ donor is a simple process that can be done online. If you live in Michigan, you can visit the Gift of Life Michigan website. You’ll answer several questions for identification purposes and then fill out a form on the Secretary of State’s website. After that, you’ll only need to provide your driver’s license or state identification number, date of birth and name. It’s just that easy and you could save up to eight lives and heal the lives of more than 75 people.

How do living organ donations work?

You can donate certain organs while you’re still alive. To help a friend or family member, people sometimes choose to donate their kidney and parts of the pancreas, lung, intestine or liver for transplant. Generally the recipient’s medical insurance will cover a lot of the medical costs for the person donating an organ, although the donor would have to consider any travel expenses and lost wages that might accompany the donation.

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Photo credit: bruce mars

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