Curious about organ donation? Heres what you need to know – WHNT News 19

Posted: December 31, 2019 at 6:46 pm

Doctor close-up of a doctor showing a picture of a kidney on a tablet in a hospital

With a float in this years Rose Bowl parade celebrating organ donation, there are a lot of questions many have about the process and why they should donate their organs.

Legacy of Hope, the Alabama organ donation alliance, said over 1,400 Alabama residents are waiting for a life-saving transplant, with 471 lives saved in 2018.

2.9 million residents across the state are on the registry.

Can I become an organ donor?

The federal government organ donation website,, says anyone 18 and older can join the national and state organ donor registries and donate as long as they and their organs are in healthy condition.

The Tennessee donor registry also allows anyone between 13 and 17 to join as long as they have a state ID, drivers license, or leaners permit. However, their parents will have the final say on organ and tissue donation if that decision needs to be made.

Even if you have health issues, you could still donate even one organ, which could save or improve a life.

What can be donated?

How do I register to donate?

There are two registries: The National Donor Registry and the state registry.

In Alabama and Tennessee, if you checked yes to organ donation when applying for or renewing your license, youre already on the state list.

If you didnt check yes, you can make your decision when applying for or renewing your drivers license or state ID at your local DMV or visit your states registry online.

In Alabama, Legacy of Hope manages the state registry, and you can sign up here.

In Tennessee, Donate Life Tennessee manages the state registry donation registry, and you can sign up here.

Youll need to check yes every time you renew to stay on the list.

You can join the national registry hereor in the iPhone Health app.

Who will get my organs if I decide to donate?

Its possible anybody could get your organs if you donate. People of different races match frequently, according to

The matching process includes many factors such as location, how long a recipient has been on the list, medical need, and determining blood and tissue type.

The Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network handles the matching process and it varies based on the organ being transplanted.

Does my decision to donate affect the care I get in the hospital?

No. The medical teams saving your life will do everything in their power before donation becomes a possibility. A separate team handles organ retrieval should it be necessary.

The donation process only begins once brain death is confirmed. In those cases, a potential donor must have no brain activity and be unable to breathe without a machine.

Legacy of Hope says in Alabama, two doctors have to mutually agree that a patient is brain dead before the process starts.

Where can I find more information?

If youre trying to decide or just want more information, there are multiple resources.

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Curious about organ donation? Heres what you need to know - WHNT News 19

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