Organ Donation Facts
Tammy, Kendall & Ally Sprow | Wife & Daughters of Donor Hero | Delta, Ohio

The Statistics

110,000

Nearly 110,000 people are waiting for life-saving organ transplants in the United States, including more than 3,000 Ohioans.

10

A new name is added to the national transplant waiting list every 10 minutes.

20

20 people die every day waiting for their gift of life, including one Ohioan every other day.

40,000

More than 40,000 lives are saved through organ donation every year, and more than 2 million people benefit from tissue transplants annually.

8

One person has the power to save 8 lives through organ donation…

125

...and heal 125 more through tissue donation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will doctors try to save my life if I am a registered donor?
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Yes. Every effort will be made to save someone’s life, regardless of their choice to donate. The medical staff dedicated to saving lives at hospitals is separate than those who coordinate donation. It is only after all life-saving efforts have been exhausted that donation becomes an option.

Can I still have a viewing if I donate?
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Yes. Organ recovery surgery is a very careful, respectful procedure, and if an open-casket funeral was possible before donation, it should be possible afterward.

Will there be a cost to my family if I donate?
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No. All costs associated with donation are the responsibility of the organ and/or tissue recovery organization. A donor family is only responsible for hospital charges until death is declared and for funeral expenses.

Is my religion against donation?
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Probably not. All major religions in the United States either encourage donation, viewing it as a generous last act of charity, or leave the decision up to the individual.

Am I too old or too sick to donate?
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Not necessarily. The oldest organ donor was 95, and people with histories of diabetes, cancer and other diseases have still been able to give the gift of life. It is important to register as a donor regardless of age or health conditions, as medical professionals will determine whether someone’s organs and tissues are healthy enough to transplant after death.

Does my sexual orientation exclude me from registering as a donor?
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No. Organ donation does not discriminate. Who you love does not affect your ability to donate life.

Can I sell my organs?
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No. The National Organ Transplant Act makes buying and selling organs illegal in the United States.

Can I donate an organ while I am alive?
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Yes. Life Connection of Ohio does not facilitate living donation, but you can learn more here.

Can rich or famous people buy their way to the top of the waiting list?
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No. The national transplant waiting list exists because everyone must wait on it, regardless of wealth or celebrity status. The only way to move to the top of the waiting list is to be extremely sick.

What is the matching process?
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The donor and recipient must be medically compatible, so blood type, body size and age are considered. Urgency of need, length of time on the waiting list and geographic location are also factors, but race, gender and wealth are not.

Can organs and tissues be transplanted between races and genders?
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Yes. Race and gender are not considered in the matching process.

What is brain death?
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Brain death occurs after all brain activity permanently stops. Brain death is irreversible, making it a legal definition of death. The time that someone is pronounced brain dead is the time recorded on their death certificate.

What can be donated?
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Organs that can be donated after death include the heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, pancreas and small intestine. Tissues that can be donated after death include bone, corneas, heart valves, ligaments, skin, tendons and veins.

Will my donation decision be honored?
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When someone registers as a donor, that decision is legally binding for those 18 and older. If someone under the age of 18 dies and has the potential for donation, their decision to donate can be revoked or amended by their parents or legal guardians. Regardless of someone’s donation decision, it is important to have family discussions so wishes are known.

How do I register as an organ, eye and tissue donor?
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Online

  • All you need to say “yes” to saving lives is a valid Ohio driver’s license or state identification card.

At the BMV

  • Say “yes” when obtaining or renewing your driver’s license or state identification card.

By mail

  • Say “yes” through an Ohio Donor Registry enrollment form. Brochures can be found at any BMV or at our offices.

The Donation Process

Less than 2% of people die in a way that allows organ donation to be possible, so Life Connection of Ohio is focused on maximizing every gift.

Donation Process

Hospitals contact Life Connection of Ohio to provide notification of every death.

Donation Process

The Organ Recovery Coordinator on call receives information about the person and determines whether they are medically suitable for organ, eye and/or tissue donation.

Donation Process

If the person is medically suitable for organ, eye and/or tissue donation, then the Organ Recovery Coordinator obtains the person’s wishes from the Ohio Donor Registry, if available, and a Family Services Coordinator consults the family.

If the person’s wishes are not available, the Family Services Coordinator offers the opportunity for donation to the family.

Donation Process

If the decision is made for donation, the person’s medical/social history, blood tests, and other medical evaluations are coordinated to determine which organs and/or tissues can be donated.

Donation Process

The matching process begins.

Donation Process

Once recipients are identified, the Organ Recovery Coordinator communicates with the surgical team. Organ recovery is a respectful procedure completed by a specialized surgeon.

Donation Process

THE END RESULT:

A donor hero is honored for their generosity, a family is supported through Life Connection of Ohio’s aftercare program and recipients gain second chances at life.