Q: How can I become an organ and tissue donor?
Go to Register to be a Donor and sign up now!
Q: Can I change my mind?
You may change your mind. If you do, visit the online registry to unsubscribe or visit your local motor vehicle office in person. You must tell your family or health care proxy. In the absence of a registration they will be asked if they wish to make a donation decision for you.
Q: Is the donor registry a legal document?
Yes. Most states have a registy, and where the Uniform Anatomical Gift Act has been recently passed, all Donor Registries are legal first person consents for donation.
Q: I would like to donate my entire body after I die. What do I do?
Go to Whole Body Donation for more information. You cannot be an organ or tissue donor if you choose that option.
Q: I have “Yes” to donation on my driver’s license. Is that enough to make me a donor?
The donor card on your driver’s license is a valid legal document that states your personal wishes. In the District and Virginia all DMV donor designations are also in the Donor Registry. That will soon be true in Maryland as well. To see what other states require, visit www.donatelife.net.
Q: Why do I need to tell my family I want to be an organ and/or tissue donor?
If you have registered to be an organ donor and you die in circumstances that allow you to be an organ donor, your family will be asked to provide information about your medical background. If you want to be an organ donor, but never signed an organ donor card, your family will be asked if you ever expressed a wish to be an organ or tissue donor. It would be very reassuring to your family to know that they are able to help facilitate an important desire of yours to help others.
Q: Can my family refuse permission for organ donation even though I have signed a donor card or my driver’s license?
Your family cannot legally reverse your consent to donate. However, they will be asked to help facilitate the donation by providing information regarding your medical and social history, therefore their cooperation is very important.
Q: If I become an organ or tissue donor, who is responsible for my funeral costs and arrangements?
Costs for the donation of organ or tissues are covered by the organ procurement organization (i.e. WRTC). All other costs and arrangements for the funeral remain the responsibility of the donor’s family or estate.
Q: Does the donor family receive some financial incentive such as funeral expenses?
It is against federal and state law to receive or offer money for organ or tissue donations. Donation is legally considered a totally altruistic act.
Q: What is an advance directive and how can it affect becoming an organ or tissue donor?
An advance directive is a living will that indicates your wishes for health care matters and end of life decisions in case there is a time when you cannot make those decisions for yourself. It can also include your wishes about becoming a donor. Copies should be given to your primary care physician, your designated decision-maker and your family.
Q: What is a health care power of attorney?
A health care power of attorney is when you assign a person (family, partner or close friend) the power to make health care decisions for you if you are incapacitated. This health care proxy will also be asked to direct your wishes as outlined in an advanced directive.