The words “Organ Donor” on your driver’s license means you have registered as an organ and tissue donor with your state’s Organ Donor Registry. So, if you’re an organ donor, it will be stated on your driver’s license or identification card. You can choose this option when you complete your application for a driver’s license or identification card in your state.

What Is Organ Donation?

Organ donation is the process of transplanting organs by giving part of or a whole organ to another individual who needs it. This process can be completed by living or deceased donors. You can donate the following organs:

  • Kidney
  • Liver
  • Heart
  • Pancreas
  • Lungs
  • Small intestine

Organ donation can be influenced by ethical, legal, medical, religious, and cultural issues. If you’re interested in becoming an organ donor, you can sign up to become an eye, organ, and tissue donor at the Organ Donor government website.

How Do You Become an Organ Donor?

To become an organ donor, you must sign up with your state’s donor registry. Most states have more than one way to sign up. When it’s time to get a new driver’s license or renew your license, you can indicate that you want to become an organ donor at this time. If you’re considering being an organ donor, talk with your family about your plans because hospitals ask the person’s next of kin about organ donation.

Ensuring you’re on your state’s organ donation registry and selecting the organ donation box on your driver’s license or identification application are the best ways to ensure you become a donor. Hospitals, however, are not required to ask for consent if you are at least 18 years of age, you are on the state’s donor registry, or you have marked your driver’s license or state identification card for organ donation.

More About Becoming an Organ Donor

If you are at least 18 years of age you are eligible to register for organ donation on your driver’s license or register online. Individuals who are younger than 18 can register for tissue or organ donation on their driver’s learning permit in Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota. Also, if you are under 18 years of age, your parent(s) or legal guardian(s) must allow donation.

You must check “yes” on the donor box on the application you will complete at your local transportation authority branch to become an organ, eye, and tissue donor after you pass away.

If you want to be an organ transplant recipient, you will remain on the waiting list until you are matched with potential donors. If there are no suitable donors available, the list will continue to increase. The requirements for a suitable organ donor match are as follows:

  • Blood type
  • Body size
  • Tissue type
  • The severity of their medical condition
  • How long they’ve waited for a new organ
  • How far they live from a donor

Starting the Organ Donation Process

Once a potential organ donor passes away, the hospital staff will reach out to any organization that assists in coordinating organ donation in your area. The hospital staff will check your medical history to determine if you meet the organ donation requirements.

Hospital staff members will discuss organ and tissue donation with your family members if you are a registered donor. If you are not an organ donor, your family can decide on your behalf whether to proceed with the organ donation.

As the process of organ donation continues, your organ donor details will be entered into a national database. These details can include the following:

  • Height
  • Weight
  • Zip code for the hospital
  • Blood type

All information that is collected helps identify the patients who need the organ the most. Once a match is found, the team that specializes in the transplanting process will quickly transport organs to a hospital near the recipient. The transplant process can take up to 24 hours.

If you’re like most people, you’re worried about the costs that are related to being an organ donor. Organ donor’s families do not pay anything. The recipient’s insurance will handle the medical costs of the transplant.

After the Donation Process

After the transplant, the organization will send a letter to your family informing them of which of your organs and tissues were donated. Your family can receive support during their grieving process, which can include the following:

  • Correspondence opportunities
  • Memorial events to honor you
  • Bereavement counseling

After the transplant, recipients will receive follow-up care for the rest of their lives. This follow-up care monitors changes and looks for potential changes in the proper functioning of the donated organs and the general health and well-being of the individual to ensure they lead a healthy life.

How Do I Know If I’m on the Organ Donor Registry?

Check your state-issued driver’s license or identification card to determine if you’re on the donor registry. If you renewed your driver’s license when you joined the registry, you will have a heart logo printed in the bottom corner of your license.

Pros and Cons of Becoming an Organ Donor

There are a variety of benefits to becoming an organ donor. Whether you decide to become a living donor or a donor once you pass away is up to you. Here are different things you can look forward to if you decide to sign up for the national organ donor registry.

You Can Donate at Any Age

A lot of people assume they can’t become organ donors because they’re not in the correct age range, in superior health, or have the correct ethnic background. The good news is this is a myth! People of all ages can become donors of some sort.


You can become an organ donor at any age. If you’re under the age of 18, you can sign up to be a living donor or a donor after you pass away with the consent of your parent(s). If you are older than 18, you can become a donor at any time.

People of all ages need organs, which makes your donation essential, regardless of age. Organ and tissue donors can range from newborns to individuals in their 90s.


A lot of people want to become organ donors, but they’re worried about their health. There are a few instances where your organs won’t be accepted for donation, such as active cancer or a systemic infection. However, there are very few reasons your organs won’t be accepted. Common health concerns and issues, such as high blood pressure and diabetes make some people believe they aren’t eligible to be organ donors. These health issues are minor, and having these health issues won’t affect your ability to become an organ donor.


Some people don’t apply to become organ donors because of their religious beliefs. In some instances, this is a fact. Some religions do not condone organ donation. However, some religions, such as Judaism, Christianity, and Islam support organ and tissue donation.

Living or Deceased Organ Donation

Individuals can choose to become a living or deceased organ donor. While most organs that are needed by patients can only be transplanted after someone passes away, you can donate several organs while you’re living, such as the following organs:

  • Kidney
  • Certain tissues

Part of the following organs:

  • Kidney
  • Liver
  • Lung
  • Pancreas
  • Intestine

We have two kidneys but only need one to function. The entire kidney can be removed from a person who is still living. Pieces of the intestine, lung, liver, and pancreas can be removed, and your body will compensate for the missing piece(s) and still function.

You Can Save One or More Lives

When you choose to become an organ donor, you can positively impact more than one person’s life. As an organ or tissue donor, you have the opportunity to save 8 lives by donating the following:

  • Pair of lungs
  • Heart
  • Liver
  • Pancreas
  • Kidneys
  • Intestines

Once each of these organs is removed, they can be given to 8 different people who need them. The list above is a list of the major organs. You can also donate eyes, tissue, and other parts of your body that can help even more people.

Have a Meaningful Death

Some people are worried that their death won’t mean anything. If you’re one of these individuals, organ donation can give your passing away meaning and help many people. For many families, the untimely and tragic death of a loved one is often viewed as “wasteful”, especially if the individual passed away at a young age.

Although death is deeply painful and tragic for friends and relatives of loved ones, donating organs can be the light at the end of the tunnel in this situation, knowing that something will come of the person’s passing away. Many families of organ donors state that they were given a sense of hope when their loved one’s organs were able to help someone in need.

Helping Further Medical Research

Some people don’t like the idea of being buried and want to find an alternative to cremation. If you’re one of these individuals, you may want to consider donating your body to science. If you donate your body, your body may be used to help medical students train to become successful doctors!

Your body can also be used to allow medical students and medical professionals to study and research certain diseases. Your body could provide the answer to many different questions to help the world!

Now that you know a little bit about organ donation, you can decide if you want to be an organ donor, which will be indicated on your driver’s license.