Frequently Asked Questions

Get answers to your questions about organ, eye and tissue donation.

Answers

Who can be a donor?

People of all ages and medical histories should consider themselves potential donors. Your medical condition at the time of death will determine what organs and tissues can be donated.

A national system matches available organs from the donor with people on the waiting list based on blood type, body size, how sick they are, donor distance, tissue type and time on the list. Sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or expression, race, income, celebrity and social status are never considered.

Does my religion support organ, eye and tissue donation?

All major religions support donation as a final act of compassion and generosity. Visit this page for more in-depth information on religious views on organ, eye and tissue donation.

Is there a cost to be an organ, eye and tissue donor?

There is no cost to the donor’s family or estate for donation. The donor family pays only for medical expenses before death and costs associated with funeral arrangements.

Does donation affect funeral plans?

Funeral arrangements of your choice are possible, including a viewing. Through the entire donation process the body is treated with care and respect. Following donation, funeral arrangements can continue as planned.

Does registering as a donor change my patient care?

Your life always comes first. Doctors work hard to save every patient’s life, but sometimes there is a complete and irreversible loss of brain function. The patient is declared clinically and legally dead. Only then is donation an option.

Can someone who is gay become an organ, eye or tissue donor?

Sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or expression does NOT prevent someone from registering as an organ donor. Everyone is encouraged to register their decision to be an organ donor at RegisterMe.org. However, certain regulations mandated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) may affect a person’s eligibility for eye and tissue donation. Find out more information on our LGBTQ+ FAQ page.

Can someone who is living with HIV be an organ donor?

In 2015, the HIV Organ Policy Equity (HOPE) Act was passed, allowing for HIV-positive organ donors to donate to recipients living with HIV. The law also allows for a person living with HIV to be a living donor to a transplant candidate living with HIV. As of December 20, 2018, thanks to the HOPE Act and the generosity of HIV-positive deceased donors, 100 lifesaving organ transplants have been performed for candidates living with HIV. In 2019, the HOPE Act expanded to living donation.

Does my social and/or financial status play any part in whether or not I will receive an organ if I ever need one?

No. A national system matches available organs from the donor with people on the waiting list based on blood type, body size, how sick they are, donor distance, tissue type and time on the list. Race, income, gender, celebrity and social status are never considered.

Why is it important for people of every community to donate?

Although donation and transplantation can take place successfully between individuals from different racial or ethnic groups, transplant success is often better when organs are matched between people of the same racial or ethnic background.

People of African American/Black, Asian/Pacific Islander, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian/Alaska Native and multiracial descent currently make up nearly 58% of individuals on the national organ transplant waiting list. These communities are in great need of more organ and tissue donors.

Be socially responsible

95% of Americans are in favor of being a donor but only 58% are registered.
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