About Organ, Eye and Tissue Donation 

What is organ, eye & tissue donation?


When you sign up to be an organ, eye and tissue donor on the National Donate Life Registry – RegisterMe.org – or with a state registry, you are registering your decision to become a donor upon your death. This document of gift provides legal authorization to have your organs, corneas and/or tissue made available for those in need of lifesaving and healing transplants.

Donors are often people who died suddenly and unexpectedly. Their families are then faced with making the decision at a time of shock and grief. Registering now relieves your family of this burden and serves as a real gift to them, as well as to

the grateful recipients of your donation.

What about living donation?

When a person registers as a donor with the National Donate Life Registry or a state registry, they are registering for deceased donation. Living donation is not included

in your donor registration.

A kidney from a living donor offers patients an alternative to years of dialysis and time on the national transplant waiting list. The living donor’s remaining kidney will enlarge, doing the work of two healthy kidneys. A part of the liver may also be donated. The remaining portion will regenerate and regain full function. Partial lung, intestine and pancreas donation is possible as well.

Living donation is coordinated through individual transplant centers. To help someone by becoming a living donor, talk to him or her about the transplant program where the person is listed. To be a non-directed living donor, contact a transplant center (https:// transplantliving.org/living-donation/being-a-living-donor/firststeps/) to find out if they have this type of donation program.

To learn more about the different organs and tissues for transplant and the different types of donation, visit https://www.donatelife.net/types-of-donation/

One Organ, Eye and Tissue Donor Can Heal More Than 75 Lives

Talking About Donation.


It can sometimes seem intimidating to ask people to register as donors. The truth is, most people support donation and just have not thought about registering, or have not been given the opportunity. Use these tips for ideas on how to start the conversation, overcome misconceptions, and answer common questions.


Starting the Conversation

Whether you are holding a registration table at a football game, community event or just on campus one day, it is important to engage your audience. This means standing in front of the table to draw people in, rather than waiting for them to come to you.

Open with an interesting fact.

“Hey, did you know that you can save eight lives by registering as a donor?”

Use giveaways to engage people as they walk by...

whether it is a wristband, pair of sunglasses or food.  “Do you want a free donut? We’re giving them away to everyone who stops by to learn more or registers to be an organ donor!”

Just ask!

“We’re registering people as organ donors today! Have you registered yet? It only takes a a couple of minutes.”

Overcoming Misconceptions

  • “Doctors won’t

    save my life

    if they know

    I am an organ donor.”

    In an emergency, it is the entire medical team’s first priority to save the life of their patient, and they will not check to see if you are an organ donor. Doctors work hard to save the 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.

  • “You don’t want

    my organs!”

    Even if you drink or smoke, you could still be a donor! Let the doctors decide when the time comes. A medical evaluation is done by donation professionals at the time of death to determine eligibility.

  • “I’m too old to donate.”

    Anyone can be a potential donor, regardless of age. One out of three donors is over the age of 50! A medical evaluation is done by donation professionals at the time of death to determine eligibility.

  • “I have a medical condition,

    so I can’t.”

    Anyone can register regardless of his or her medical history. A medical evaluation is done by donation professionals at the time of death to determine eligibility. If it is something you believe in, let the doctors make that decision when the time comes!

  • “I think I’m already registered.”

    Awesome! If you’re not sure, you can always register again in the National Donate Life Registry! The national and state registries are separate registries, but both are checked at the time of a person’s death.

  • “It’s against

    my religion.”

    All major religions support organ, eye and tissue donation as one of the highest expressions of compassion and generosity.

  • “I’m from another state/country.”

    • If you live in one state only part of the year or plan to move after college, it is a good idea to register on the National Donate Life Registry at RegisterMe.org. Wherever you move within the US, it will always be accessible!

    • You will need a social security number to register on RegisterMe.org.

  • “I have to check with my parents.”


    “My parents don’t want me to.”

    Donation is a personal choice, but it is important to discuss it with your family and loved ones. Make sure that they know your wishes!

  • “I need my organs!”

    Your registration is for organ donation after you pass away, so you will not need them then!

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is there a cost to the donor family?

    There is no cost to the donor’s family or estate for organ, eye and tissue donation.

  • Will I be able to have an open casket funeral

    if I donate?

    An open casket funeral is possible for organ, eye and tissue donors. Donation will not impact any other funeral arrangements either.

  • Who will receive my donated organs and tissues?

    • Many factors go into the matching process, including medical urgency, blood type and geographical location of the donor and recipient, among other criteria.

    • Due to medical privacy laws, the identities of organ donors and recipients must be kept anonymous unless both parties agree to share that information.

  • 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.

  • Can I decide which organs and tissues I want donated?

    After registering as a donor on RegisterMe.org, you can login online to specify your donation preferences.

  • Does a donor insignia have to be printed on my license?

    No, you do not have to have it printed on your license to be registered. The national and state registries are checked at the time of a person’s death, regardless if it is printed on his or her license. The insignia on a person’s license or ID card is simply a reminder for the individual, not for medical professionals.

  • Is this the same database as when I registered to

    donate blood/bone marrow?

    No, while those are also lifesaving and healing gifts, organ donation is a different registry.

  • Why register my decision to be

    an organ, eye and tissue donor?

    • You can save up to 8 lives and heal the lives of more than 75 people.

    • Donation gives comfort to the donor family in knowing that their loved one helped to save the lives of others.

    • Registering your decision and sharing it with your family lets them know your wishes.

  • Where can I register as an organ, eye and tissue donor?

    • Online right now! Sign up with the National Donate Life Registry at RegisterMe.org.

    • In the Medical ID tab of the iPhone Health app.

    • At the DMV when applying for or renewing a license or ID card.

    • It is important to tell your family members that you have decided to register your decision to be a donor so that they will know your wishes

About Us

Trew friends is a division of The Heather Trew Foundation. The foundation was formed in 2008 and became a 501c3 non profit in 2010 and is registered with the State of SC.

The Heather Trew Foundation

PO Box 5521

Hilton Head, SC 29938



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