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Do you think you are an organ donor? Here’s how to know for sure

Person holding a plastic heart in hand

Registering as an organ donor is easy and can help save lives.

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At the moment there are at least 107,000 people on a waiting list for an organ transplant to save their lives. And every day, 17 people die while awaiting an organ transplant, according to the Health Resources and Services Administration. Potentially saving lives by signing up as an organ donor is actually a simple process that most people qualify for. Here’s what you need to know about signing up, eligibility, and more.

What is organ donation and why register as an organ donor?

When you sign up as an organ donor, when you die, you give permission to have your organs removed and donated to someone in need. There are certain circumstances that make this possible, so not everyone will be able to donate, even if they want to. If you decide to become a donor, you will be evaluated after your death to make sure your organs are eligible. So when you register as a donor, you are essentially setting your body into consideration when something happens to you.

If you are concerned about organ donation and changing your medical care or funeral arrangements, don’t worry. Donating your organs doesn’t take place until after your death, and the procedure for doing so doesn’t affect how you look at a funeral or visit, according to the Health Services and Resources Administration.

people who are in a DMV

Most people can sign up as an organ donor when you get your driver’s license from the DMV.

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Who can register as an organ donor?

Anyone over the age of 18 can register as an organ donor. If you are under 18, your parent or legal guardian will decide on organ donation after death. You can also register as a donor if you have underlying medical problems. Again, much of the actual eligibility for organ donation depends on the circumstances of your death and the status of your organs at the time.

How to apply to become an organ donor

One of the easiest ways to sign up as an organ donor is when you get your driver’s license or have it renewed at your local DMV. Most states can issue some sort of indicator on your license that shows you are a donor. Every state also has a registry, so you can register online through OrganDonor.Gov if you don’t have a driver’s license or aren’t sure if you registered as a donor when you got your driver’s license.

According to the Mayo Clinic and OrganDonor.gov, when you register for organ donation, you should also tell your family, friends, or other loved ones in your life that you want to become an organ donor. This way, if ever asked about your preference, they can tell the hospital or doctors your wishes. Just registering is enough to make sure you’re ready for a donation, but telling your loved ones will make the process easier when the time comes and they are asked about it.

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The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended to be health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health care practitioner if you have any questions about a medical condition or health goals.

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