One organ donor can save up to 8 lives and heal the lives of 75 – learn more about organ and tissue donation
We’re proud to support the donation of organs and tissue, which has led to more than 700,000 transplants performed since 1988. In Mercy Health facilities, we help collect donor organs to prepare them for donation. We encourage you to think about donation and discuss your wishes with your family.
What is donation?
You’re never too old to save a life through donation – in most states, anyone over the age of 16 can register to be an organ donor. When you register as a donor, you’re only allowing your organs and tissue to be donated after death or declared brain death.
Donor registration is a documented gift that’s needed in order to facilitate the donation process, provide legal authorization for recovery agencies and help relieve the burden of decision-making from family during a time of loss. 95% of Americans are in favor of being a donor but only 55% are registered.
Types of organ donation
Most people think donation means just the major organs like your heart or lungs, but there are many types of organs and tissue that can be donated to save or heal lives. In addition to kidneys – the most common organ that recipients are waiting for – organ donation can include heart, lungs, liver, pancreas and intestines.
Tissue donations can include eye corneas to restore sight, tendons and ligaments to rebuild joints, nerves to repair neuromuscular damage, veins and valves to restore circulation and fix heart defects, bones to prevent amputation and even skin grafts to cover burns and scars.
Additional ways to donate
In addition to registering to donate organs and tissue after death, you can also register as a living donor with local or national donation agencies. Living donors must undergo clinical tests to determine blood type and overall health as well as psychological examinations before registration. A living donation could be a kidney, liver, blood stem cells or bone marrow.
How to register
If you’ve ever been to your local DMV to get or renew a driver’s license, you’ve probably been asked about organ donation. But did you know in most states, you don’t even have to leave the house to sign up as an organ donor? Registering is as easy as visiting Donate Life online, where you can specify the types of organs or tissue you would like to donate and even choose whether you want your donation to go to transplant recipients, science, research or another cause.