The decision to become an organ, tissue and/or eye donor is a generous,
life-giving decision. More than 115,000 men, women and children in the
U.S. are in need of a lifesaving organ transplant. Countless others are
in need of tissue donation, which may improve quality of life.
The great need for organ and tissue donors exists partly due to a lack
of education about donation or how to become a donor. According to
Donate Life America, 98 percent of all adults have heard of organ donation, whereas only 86
percent have heard of tissue donation.
Anyone can be a potential donor, regardless of age, race or medical history.
The decision to donate your organs or tissue when you die is a decision
that could potentially save the life or improve the quality of life for
Organ donation vs. tissue donation
Tissue such as skin, bone and heart valves can be donated and transplanted.
The gift of a
tissue donation can dramatically improve quality of life for the recipient.
Organ donation is the giving of a whole or part of an organ for transplantation into
another individual. Organ donation typically occurs posthumously, though
it is possible for a
living donation to be made in some cases, such as for kidney transplant. In 2011, deceased
and living organ donors made 28,535 organ transplants possible. (Source:
Corneal donation is necessary for the preservation and restoration of sight. Some patients
after an injury or because of a congenital defect, only have a chance
for clear sight with a corneal transplant. The cornea is the clear, outermost
layer of the eye that allows light to pass through the retina, enabling
vision. Last year, more than 42,000 grafts were made available for transplant
by eye banks within the U.S. (Source: donatelife.net)
Common myths about organ and tissue donation
Myth: I’m too old to donate.
Fact: There is no cutoff age for organ donation. Likewise, tissue, including
eye tissue, can be donated at any age, though past a certain age, your
tissue may be used for research rather than transplant. Donation for research
is still a very generous, and potentially life-saving gift. The donation
of your eye tissue for research can help advance the understanding and
treatment of many eye diseases.
Myth: Organ and tissue donation is against my religion.
Fact: The decision to donate your organs and/or tissue is a personal decision
and is consistent with the beliefs of most religions, including Catholicism,
Protestantism and Islam. If you are unsure of your religion’s specific
views on organ and tissue donation, as a member of your clergy or visit
organdonor.gov for more information.
Statistics show that 90 percent of all Americans support organ, tissue
and eye donation, but only 30 percent know how to become a donor. For
more information on becoming an organ, tissue or eye donor and to learn
the facts about donation, visit