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Organ Donation Awareness

Organ and tissue transplantation has become an integral part of health care in Pennsylvania and the nation. The voluntary donation of organs and tissues by those who willingly share this gift of life contributes to the success of transplantation. The Department of Health has been actively engaged in the promotion of voluntary donation for many years, and the enactment of Act 102 in 1994 has increased Pennsylvania’s efforts to inform and encourage Pennsylvanians to become donors. As the lead agency in state government, the Department of Health is responsible for the coordination of organ and tissue donation initiatives and reporting to the general assembly about donation progress.

Residents of Pennsylvania who have a driver's license or state I.D. card have the ability to go online to a secure page within PennDOT's website to add the donor designation to their record. Pennsylvanians no longer will have to wait until they renew their driver's license or state I.D. card to say YES to donation.

Not a registered donor?  Click Here and you will be redirected to PennDOT's website to register as an organ and tissue donor.

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Who can be a Donor?
Anyone can decide to be a donor.  If you are under age 18, however, you'll need a parent or guardian's signature to have the donor designation placed on your driver's license, learner's permit or photo ID card.  The ability to donate is determined on a case-by-case basis at the time of death and age is not a prohibiting factor - people as old as 85 have become donors. 

How do I become a Donor?

Two easy ways: (1) Sign up online now; or, (2) check "yes" for organ and tissue donation when you get or renew your driver's license, learner's permit or photo ID.  The words Organ Donor will be placed below your photo and in your computer record with the PA Department of Transportation.  Make sure to share your decision with your loved ones.  There is no fee to place the organ donor designation on your driver's license or photo ID.

SIGN UP NOW! Visit www.donatelife-pa.org and become an organ donor today!

Organ Donation Myths and Facts

MYTHS FACTS
Doctors will not try to save my life if they know I am a registered organ donor. Paramedics, doctors and nurses will do everything possible to save your life. The medical staff trying to save lives is completely separate from the transplant team. Transplant surgeons are called in only after all efforts to save a life have been exhausted and death is imminent or has been declared.
My religion does not approve of donation. Most religions support organ and tissue donation as a charitable act of love and giving. Learn more - religious views on organ donation
I don't need to tell my family that I'd like to be a donor because it's already written in my will. By the time your will is read, it will be too late for you to be a donor. Telling your family now that you want to be an organ and tissue donor is the best way to help them understand your wishes concerning this decision and make certain that your wishes are honored.
I am too old to donate organs and tissues. People of all ages may be organ and tissue donors. Physical condition, not age, is important. Physicians will decide whether your organs and tissues can be transplanted.
My family will be charged for donating my organs. There are no costs to a person’s family for donation.
Donation will interfere with plans for my funeral. Donation will not interfere with customary funeral plans, including those with open-casket viewings.
The rich and famous on the U.S. waiting list for organs get preferential treatment. The organ allocation and distribution system is blind to wealth, social status or race. The computerized matching system selects recipients based on blood and tissue typing, organ size, medical urgency, waiting time, and geographic location.
Minorities should refuse to donate because organ distribution discriminates by race. Organs are matched by factors, including blood and tissue typing, which can vary by race. Patients are more likely to find matches among donors of their same race or ethnicity which is why it’s important for people of all races to become donors.
I have a history of medical illness. You would not want any of my organs or tissues. At the time of death, the organ procurement organization will review medical and social histories to determine medical suitability. Few illnesses or conditions prevent someone from being a donor.
Donation will disfigure my body. Organs and tissues are removed in procedures similar to surgery, and all incisions are closed at the conclusion of the surgery. Doctors maintain dignity and respect for the donor at all times. An open casket funeral is possible after donation.
Contact Information:
Department of Health
Bureau of Health Promotion and Risk Reduction
Organ and Tissue Donation Program
625 Forster St.
Health & Welfare Building, Room 1000
Harrisburg, PA  17120
717-787-6214

Additional Resources: