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Donation Facts

Get answers to popular questions about registering as an organ and tissue donor

Woman with donate life t-shirt stands next to photo of donor son

Donation Facts

Fact: A medical professional’s first priority is always to provide care and preserve life.

Doctors will make every effort to save a patient’s life, regardless of whether or not that patient is a registered donor.

Fact: Organ and tissue donors can have an open casket.

HonorBridge works with funeral service professionals to coordinate the family’s wishes for burial with organ and tissue recovery. Our donors are always treated with dignity and respect, and their bodies can be viewed at a service after their donations have been recovered.

Fact: Every major faith tradition supports donation.

And in every culture, people believe that the decision to care for and help our neighbors is a good and moral choice. The decision to be a donor is an individual choice that is supported by diverse communities and belief traditions.

Fact: Anyone can register to be an organ, eye, and tissue donor.

You can decide to be a registered donor at any age, regardless of any health conditions. Medical professionals will evaluate each donor’s eligibility when the time comes.

Fact: The waitlists for organs are designed to evaluate every patient equally.

Blood type, location, time on the waitlist, and other health factors are used to determine the perfect match when a donated organ is available. Rich and famous people can’t get moved to the top of the waitlist, and either can anyone else. It is illegal to buy or sell organs in the United States.

Your Decision

Does everyone believe in organ, eye, and tissue donation?

Donor family and dog wearing t-shirts with Donate Life outside

Registering to be a donor is a very personal decision. Every major faith tradition supports donation. And in every culture, people believe that the decision to care for and help our neighbors is a good and moral choice. You should learn as much as you can and talk to your faith leaders, friends, and family about your decision.

Frequently Asked Questions

There are three ways to register: online, at the DMV, or in the Health app on your iPhone.  

If you register at the DMV, a red heart will be placed on your driver’s license or ID card. This symbol means that you have made the lifesaving decision to legally authorize your organs, eyes, and tissues after you die.  

No, you can also register with a paper form. You can request this via our contact us form

Yes! You can update your donor record. The changes you make to your online donor record will be permanent, and they will supersede your DMV donor record. If you registered at the DMV, you should update or change your record there. If you registered online, update or change your record online. Simply log in to remove yourself from the NC Donor Registry. This change takes effect immediately.

No. All costs associated with donation are paid by the organ procurement organization. Your family will only be responsible for hospital charges before your death and for funeral expenses. 

No. Your healthcare professionals will always do everything they can to save your life, regardless of whether or not you are registered as a donor.

No. A potential donor can be any age.

No. It is against the law to buy or sell organs and tissue in the United States.  Your family will not have to pay for donation expenses, but they also cannot be paid or reimbursed for hospital or funeral expenses.

HonorBridge will use both commercial and private air transportation to ensure organs arrive at the correct destination. In many cases, a tracking device is used so that we know the organ’s exact location.

Yes, you may be able to be an eye and tissue donor if you die at home. Your organs can only be donated for transplantation if you die in the hospital on a ventilator.

The recovery of organ and tissues may take time and could slightly delay the process of moving a donor to a funeral home. HonorBridge works with funeral directors to minimize this delay. Our skilled recovery professionals will work in a sterile environment and treat every donor with respect. When the donor is transported to the funeral home, our partners there can prepare the body for viewing or an open casket if desired.

Individuals considering whole body donation are advised to make arrangements with the medical school or research program of their choice. Usually, being an organ donor prevents whole body donation, but each program is different. Regardless of your decision to be an organ, eye, and tissue donor or to donate your whole body to science, be sure to let your family know your decision.

If you registered at the DMV in North Carolina, you should have a heart on the front of your license.

If you signed up for the National Donate Life Registry online at DonateLife.net, RegisterMe.org, or in your iPhone Health App, go to RegisterMe.org and click “Access Your Registration” to view or make changes to your donor registration record.

Yes. People of all sexual orientations, genders, gender identitie and expressions can register to be an organ donor. Certain regulations mandated by the FDA may affect a person’s eligibility for eye and tissue donation. Learn more.

Yes. The 2015 HOPE Act provides donation and transplantation opportunities to people living with HIV.

Thousands of lives are saved every year through the generosity of living donors. HonorBridge does not facilitate living donation, but you can learn more about it at DonateLife.

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