How to Become an Organ Donor and Why It’s Important

Life has a way of bringing unexpected events at times, and health problems can definitely fall into this category. You may even know someone suffering from an unexpected illness. Unfortunately, some cases do spiral into a life-threatening situation in which the person needs a vital organ transplant. As a registered organ donor, you could be the one to save someone’s life during this tragic and scary time.

Q: Why should I become an organ donor?

Every day, thousands of people wait to get an organ transplant in hospitals. In fact, the need for vital organs has risen in recent years, totaling more than 100,000 people.

In 2016, doctors only performed 33,000 transplants, showing a drastic gap between need and supply. According to the American Transplant Foundation, another person gets added to the transplant waiting list every 10 minutes.

At the same time, about 20 people die each day because they couldn’t receive a vital organ in time. However, if merely one person can become a viable donor, that person has the opportunity to donate up to 8 vital organs.

People in need of a transplant are holding onto the hope that someone will come along with the right match for them. As an organ donor, you have the unique power to save someone else’s life.

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Q: What if I don’t qualify because of health problems?

Even if you do suffer chronic health conditions, you may still be able to donate. According to the Mayo Clinic, there are only a handful of medical conditions that would automatically disqualify you.

Even then, let medical professionals decide whether you fit the requirements or not. Willingness goes a long way in helping other people.

Q: Vital organ transplants are dangerous. What if the person doesn’t live anyway?

Because of advances in medicine and technology, organ transplants have high success rates. Major organ transplants like the kidneys, liver, lungs, and even heart have a 75 percent or higher rate of success.

With highly skilled doctors at work in these cases, concerns about whether or not organ transplants will succeed are unfounded. Transplant patients simply need the chance to live, and the right organ donor may give them this opportunity.

Q: I’m ready to make the step and become an organ donor. To get registered, don’t I just notify my local DMV?

You are taking a wonderful step in helping to save someone’s life. To get registered, you can start by signing up with your DMV.

Make sure that you have actually signed up for your state’s donor registry to be listed there since doctors or family members may not find your driver’s license right away. Merely signing the back of your license will not ensure that you’re an organ donor.

If you prefer not to sign up at your DMV, you can also register online, making the process quick and easy. Go to to find your state’s online registry.

Q: What steps can I take to make sure that others know my wishes?

Besides signing up with your state’s registry, you should let others close to you know about your decision. Family and close friends should understand that you would like to be an organ donor.

While talking about the topic with loved ones might be hard, it’s a necessary step to make sure that everyone has the same understanding. This way, if doctors need to make a quick decision, your loved ones can step in with the knowledge that they’re fulfilling your wishes.

Making the choice to become an organ donor means that you’re making the choice to save lives. When you factor in the patient along with all of their loved ones hoping for a donor, your one transplant could affect dozens of lives. Although some situations may rule you out as a donor, you can still sign up and let medical professionals judge whether you qualify. By signing up as an organ donor, know that you’re making an enormous difference in someone’s life.