NAELA
ASNP
Five Star Professional
AVVO

Arranging to Donate Your Organs

How to donate your organs after death.

Donated organs and tissues are in great demand, as medical technology has made successful organ and tissue transplants safer, easier, and less expensive. Among the organs and tissues now commonly being transplanted are:

  • corneas
  • hearts
  • livers
  • kidneys
  • bone and bone marrow
  • tendons, ligaments, connective tissue
  • skin
  • pancreas, and
  • lungs.

Tissues and corneas can be taken from almost anyone -- and are often used for research and study rather than transplants. However, there are often problems with donating major organs such as hearts, livers, or kidneys. For example, while there are tens of thousands of people now on waiting lists to receive kidneys alone, only about 1% of all people who die are suitable kidney donors.

To authorize organ donation, it’s a good idea to obtain a donor card and carry it with you at all times. In many states, you can use your driver’s license for this purpose; the motor vehicles department will give you a card to carry and perhaps a sticker to place on the front of your license.

In addition, a health care document (such as an advance directive or living will) is a good place to state your wishes regarding organ donation. An increasing number of states are providing a place on their official health care directive forms for such instructions, allowing you to specify not only the organs, tissues, or body parts that you want to donate but also the purposes for which your donation may be used -- for example, transplant, therapy, research, or education. (For more information about making health care documents, see Living Wills and Powers of Attorney for Health Care: How They Work.)

Organ, tissue, or body donations must be carried out immediately after death, so if you want to be a donor, you should make arrangements in advance and discuss your plans and wishes with those closest to you -- especially your health care agent, if you have made an advance directive or power of attorney that names one.

Even if you have expressed a desire to donate your organs, an objection from close family members could defeat your intentions. The best safeguard is to put your wishes in writing and be sure family and friends know what they are.

Client Reviews
★★★★★
"We just received the refund from the facility today. Thank You so very much for all your help with my Mom's file. You and the staff at Wilson & Wilson Estate Planning & Elder Law LLC are outstanding people. It is an Honor to have your law office represent us. I would like to keep in touch with you for future family business." Lou Spataro
★★★★★
"I have known Bill Wilson for years and referred the services of Wilson & Wilson Estate Planning & Elder Law LLC Law Offices to many of my clients. I know they will be met with compassion as well as excellent counsel which is important to families in stressful situations. Dealing with the families in crisis requires skills all of the staff at Wilson & Wilson Estate Planning & Elder Law LLC demonstrate every day." Andrea Donovon
★★★★★
"Bill and his team are outstanding! They are thoughtful, caring and able to handle virtually any estate-related matter. They can take complicated matters and make them simple to understand. And on simple matters, they get it done quickly and for a reasonable fee. I highly recommend the Wilson & Wilson Estate Planning & Elder Law LLC team." G.Grant Dixon III
★★★★★
"Dear Ms. Rabuck, Please accept my sincere appreciation of your involvement and efforts in this case. You have been most understanding, competent and patient as we pursued this matter over the last several months." Robert N. Milano
★★★★★
Gentlemen: "Your office has served me well. Ms. Anne J. Rabuck did an outstanding job of bringing my mixed estate to an orderly conclusion. She is to be complimented. Your staff treated me with respect and cordiality. It was my pleasure to deal with your office. I would recommend you to anyone." Bryon D. Murgatroyd