Have You Had the Talk?

Organ and Tissue Donation

Discuss Your Decision with Your Family: Ways to Start the Conversation

Be sure to share your decision to become an organ and tissue donor with your family. When the time comes, they may be the ones giving consent.

Discussing organ donation with family members can be awkward and uncomfortable; however it is an important step to ensure that your final wishes are carried out. Knowing your views on organ donation allows your family to carry out your wishes and eliminates the need for them to make a difficult decision during a time of loss.

Simple Ways of Starting the Conversation:

1. Look for opportunities to talk about organ donation. The sudden, unexpected death of a young person or friend can be an opening to bring up the topic. “You know if that were to happen to me, I would want to have my organs donated. What would you want to do?”

2. Start the conversation by showing your family your Driver’s License. Be prepared to answer their questions.

3. Wear the green Donate Life bracelet to show your support for organ donation. Most people will always ask what the bracelet means.

4. Share the story of someone who needs a transplant or has received one.

5. Discuss organ donation when you or family members are updating/writing a will or applying for life insurance.


Kirsti A Dyer, MD, MS, FT, FAAETS is a Physician, Professor, Professional Health Educator and a Grief and Bereavement Expert. She has been interested in death, dying and bereavement since her early days when she worked as an Emergency Medical Technician; this interest persisted throughout her medical training and into the present.

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