Patient and Family Education

Organ Donation: Five Things to Know

More than 100,000 people in the United States are waiting for a life-saving organ transplant.

Sadly, while myths and misunderstandings about organ and tissue donations abound, both kids and adults die each day waiting for a life-saving transplant, with a new person being added to the transplant list every 10 minutes.

By becoming an organ and tissue donor, you can help save lives.

Here are five things you need to know about becoming an organ and tissue donor:

1. One donor can change dozens of lives

One single organ and tissue donor can save eight lives and improve the lives of more than 50 people, helping to restore eyesight, damaged tissues and vital functions.

2. Anyone can be a potential donor

Anyone can be a potential donor regardless of age, race or medical history. Donation professionals review medical history to determine if you can donate. With recent advances in transplantation, more people can donate than ever before.

3. Donating will not cost your family anything

There is no cost to a deceased donor's family for donating organs and tissues. All costs directly related to the organ donation are covered by the recipient's insurance.

Hospital expenses incurred before the donation of organs, in attempts to save the donor's life, remain the responsibility of the donor's family. Families are also responsible for expenses related to a donor's funeral.

4. Make your intentions known

Signing a donor card or stating on your driver’s license that you want to be an organ donor is not enough to ensure that you will be considered as a donor. To officially register as an organ donor, register through Donate Life.

You also need to talk about your decision with your family to ensure that your wishes are carried out.

5. Adults can be living donors

While most organ donations happen after death, you do not have to be deceased to donate. Adults can make living donations. This means that living adults can choose to donate an organ (kidney) or part of an organ (liver) to someone in need.

You can make a difference

Visit Donate Life Today to learn more about becoming an organ and tissue donor.

More to Explore: Seattle Children's Transplant Stories

Seattle Children's has been a consistent leader among national pediatric transplant centers. We are committed to providing optimal growth and quality of life for your child – and helping your entire family return to a normal, active life.

Learn more about Seattle Children's Transplant Center and discover the stories of our transplant patients.