We usually do not expect to die until we reach old age. But sometimes the unexpected happens--a car accident, a heart attack, a stroke. You can decide now that you want to save others’ lives if, after doctors have tried everything to save you, your life cannot be saved. Your organs and tissues will only be donated if there is no chance of saving your life.

By registering as an organ and/or tissue donor, you are giving permission for your organs and/or tissues (such as skin and bones) to be given to people who need them. The organs from one person can save up to eight people, and the tissue from one person can help more than 50 people! You may give permission for some organs or tissues to be used and not others. You may also say that you only want your organs or tissues to be used for one purpose and not others. For example, you may decide that you only want to donate your kidneys and no other organs, and you only want them to be used for organ transplants, not for any other purposes.

If you are considering donating your organs in the event of your death, talk about your wishes with your loved ones. You may also talk about your questions and concerns with your doctor. If you decide you do want to be an organ donor, the best way to make sure that your wishes are honored is to register to be an organ donor with the National Donate Life Registry.

Click here to read answers to frequently asked questions about organ donation.

Click here to register on the National Donate Life Registry to be an organ donor.